Chemical industry

Salt in chemical industry

There are three large parts of the chemical industry that use salt: sodium chloride electrolysis, the production of sodium carbonate and the production of sodium sulfate.

  • Sodium chloride electrolysis: sodium chloride electrolysis enables chlorine, soda, and under specific conditions sodium chlorate or sodium metal to be produced:
    • Chlorine is mainly used in the production of plastic-based raw materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), but also to produce chlorine solvents and for the preparation of whitening products and disinfectants, such as bleach.
    • Soda ash is an intermediate chemical product.  It is used to make synthetic textiles, pulp, aluminium oxide, and sodium chlorate is used as a weed killer or a whitening agent.
    • Metal sodium is very important in organic chemistry as a synthesizing agent and in the nuclear sector as a cooling liquid.
  • Sodium carbonate, commonly called soda crystals in its everyday household use, apart from being used as a base in the chemical industry, is mainly used in glass-making.  To produce sodium carbonate two raw materials are needed: sodium chloride carbonate and ammonia as an intermediate.
  • Sodium sulfate is used in the paper industry for treating wood pulp and in the glass and detergent industries to produce the other chemical products required.  This product is obtained in ovens where sodium chloride crystals are mixed with sulfuric acid at a temperature of more than 550°C.