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Sodium carbonate

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Sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate
Systematic name Sodium carbonate
Other names Soda ash, Washing soda
Molecular formula Na2CO3
SMILES [Na+].[Na+].[OC(=O)O-2]
Molar mass Molar mass::105.99 g/mol
Appearance White solid
CAS number CAS number::497-19-8
Density and phase [[Density::2.5 g/cm3]], Solid
Solubility in water 30 g/100 ml (20°C)
Melting point Melting point::851°C
Boiling point Decomposes
Basicity (pKb) 4.67
Trigonal bipyramidal
Crystal structure Triclinic
MSDS External MSDS Data
EU classification Irritant (Xi)
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 svg.png

Flash point non flammable
R-phrases R36
S-phrases S2, S22, S26
RTECS number VZ4050000
Related compounds
Other anions Sodium bicarbonate
Other cations Lithium carbonate
Potassium carbonate
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Sodium carbonate, which is also known as soda ash or washing soda, is written as Na2CO3 in molecular formula. It has high solubility in water and is a salt-based compound.[1] It usually occurs naturally in arid regions and Egypt has the greatest amount of sodium carbonate. Due to its great economic value in the manufacturing industry, a great number of chemists have been researching ways of producing sodium carbonate since the 1800s.[2] The most common technique for producing sodium carbonate is known as the Solvay's process. Synthetically forms of this salt are used in glass, water softeners, electrolytes, and components of Ramen noodles.[3]

Properties and Production

The molecular formula of sodium carbonate is Na2CO3. Such a compound is also called as soda ash or washing soda. In many countries including the U.S., sodium carbonate is used widely in various industrial fields.[4] Knowing the great economic value of sodium carbonate, many chemists have been working on producing mass of sodium carbonate in a synthetic way ever since the Industrial Revolution took a place. [5] The most common way of producing sodium carbonate today is the Solvary process. Such a process was discovered by the Belgium chemist Ernest Solvary in 1861. Mixing a certain amount of ammonia with sodium chloride under high temperature, he succeeded in converting sodium chloride into sodium carbonate.[6]Sodium carbonate, produced through this process, is mostly used as glass and domestic goods. Other than its uses in may areas of manufacturing industry, sodium carbonate is also famous for its distinguishable characteristics. One of them is its high solubility in water and the other one is the fact that it is a salt-based compound. [7]


A salt crust (mostly sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate) on dry Soda Lake (near Zzyzx Spring).

A great amount of sodium carbonate occur naturally only in arid regions because it has high solubility in water. [8]For this reason, the country that posses the greatest amount of sodium carbonate is Egypt, whose land is vastly dry. In Egypt, from the very past, sodium carbonate was used as a component in the process of making mineral natron with sodium bicarbonate. Such mineral natron was used as a component of an ancient Egyptian coffin for the purpose of keeping mummies in dry environment. [9]Other than Egypt, sodium carbonate occur naturally in many African countries that have dry environment as different forms. [10]The most common forms of sodium carbonate are sodium carbonate decahydrate, sodium carbonate heptahydrate, and sodium carbonate monyhydrate. [11]


Sodium carbonate is one of the compounds that are most frequently used in many fields of today's manufacturing industry. Its most significant use can be found when making transparent non-crystalline material, which is glass. [12]Through a process of being combined with sand and calcium carbonate, sodium carbonate turns out to be glass. Sodium carbonate is also used widely as an electrolyte by many chemists when electrolysis is performed. The reason of its use as an electrolyte is because sodium carbonate is made of salts. Such compounds that contain salts have a high conductivity. [13]For housekeepers, as well as chemists, the presence of sodium carbonate is important because most water softeners an enormous number of housekeepers use everyday is made of sodium carbonate. [14] In the field of ramen noodle industry, sodium carbonate also takes a big part. Many ramen factories like Kansui, Nongsim, and Samyang add a certain amount of sodium carbonate in their products in order to keep them fresh for a longer period of time.[15]