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Sodium nitrate

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Sodium nitrate
NaNitrate.pngSodium Nitrate.JPG
Systematic name Sodium Nitrate
Other names

Chile saltpeter
Nitrate of soda
Peru saltpeter
Soda niter
cubic niter

Molecular formula NaNO3
SMILES [N+](=O)([O-])[O-].[Na+]
Molar mass 84.9947 g/mol
Appearance White powder or colorless crystals
CAS number 7631-99-4
Density 2.26 g/cm³
Solubility in water 73 g/100 ml (0°C)
Melting point 308°C
Boiling point 380°C
Viscosity 2.85 cPcP at 317°C
Crystal structure trigonal and rhombohedral
MSDS [1]
Main hazards Oxidant, irritant
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 svg.png

Flash point Non-flammable
RTECS number WC5600000
Related compounds
Other anions Sodium nitrite
Other cations

Lithium nitrate
Potassium nitrate
Rubidium nitrate

Related compounds

Sodium sulfate
Sodium chloride

Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Sodium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula NaNO3. It was first synthesized in 1820 or 1825, when it was brought to England. It didn't sell, so it was dumped at sea. Over time, it became a profitable business, as a war was started over it. Chile fought against Peru and Bolivia in the War of the Pacific (1879-1884) and took over the richest deposits. Its crystal structure was determined by Ralph Walter Graystone Wyckoff in 1919.

Occurrences & Synthesis

Nitratine, the mineral form of Sodium Nitrate.

Sodium Nitrate is a natural compound, but it can be made, it can be made by neutralizing nitric acid with sodium carbonate or it can be found. This salt is also known as Chile or Peru saltpeter so that people would be able to tell it apart from ordinary saltpeter, potassium nitrate. The mineral form has many names like: nitratine, nitratite or soda niter. Accumulations of naturally containing sodium nitrate are found in Chile and Peru, they are kept within mineral deposits called caliche ore. Nitrates spread throughout land through fog precipitation and sea-spray oxidation followed by the settling of NaNO3 in the desert atmosphere. [1]


Sodium nitrate has been used worldwide in a number of jobs ranging from agriculture to the fireworks industry. For the agricultural purposes, Sodium nitrate is used to create fertilizers. As one of the fertilizer’s ingredients, sodium nitrate is the substance that increases the amount of nitrogen contained in the soil. It is also used to make pesticides, pests that can ruin the plants like mice, and bugs can be overcome by pesticides that contains sodium nitrate.It's also used to make fireworks as one of its important ingredients. Sodium nitrate's reaction to other chemicals in the firework, results in the colors firework's make. As the combustion takes place, the atoms of sodium nitrate and the other two chemicals create different colors. The colors reflect the amount of energy released during the combustion.[2]

Health Concerns

Processed meat like Spam contain Sodium nitrate.

Studies have shown that because of increased levels of nitrates, diseases have increased deaths including: Alzheimer's, diabetes and Parkinson's, it might be because of the effect of nitrosamines has on DNA, but practically nothing done is being done to control other causes in the epidemiological results. Nitrosamines, formed in cured meats containing sodium nitrate, has been linked to gastric cancer and oesophageal cancer. Sodium nitrate are associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer.[3] Also meat that contains Sodium nitrate (processed meat) increases the chances of heart disease, because its content of nitrate. Processed meats include bacon, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen prepared meals.


A sodium nitrate explosion.


  1. Sodium nitrate Wikipedia. Web.Last Modified on February 5, 2016 .Unknown
  2. The Nature and Uses of Sodium Nitrate PT. NUANSA KIMIA SEJATI. Web. Unknown
  3. Sodium nitrate Wikipedia. Web.Last Modified on February 5, 2016 Unknown.