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Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide)

A highly versatile commodity used in a variety of manufacturing applications

Caustic Soda has a wide variety of manufacturing applications based on its ability as a strong alkali to react with many substances. It is a globally used product in which international consumption can affect the domestic supply and demand.

The largest uses for Caustic Soda are pulp and paper manufacturing, alumina production, de-inking of waste paper, water treatment, and general chemistry. Caustic Soda is a basic feedstock in the manufacturing of a wide range of chemicals. It is used as a raw intermediate and a reactant in processes that produce solvents, plastics, synthetic fibers, bleach, adhesives, coatings, herbicides, dyes, inks, and pharmaceuticals such as aspirin.  It is also used in soap and detergent, oil and gas, and textile industries as well as to neutralize acidic waste streams and the scrubbing of acidic components from off gases.  Possible uses are:

It is a strong, colorless alkali. Caustic Soda is manufactured through the electrolysis of Sodium Chloride (NaCL2, salt brine).  

Along with Chlorine, Sodium Hydroxide is produced through the Chlor-Alkali electrolysis process. Electrolysis is an electrochemical reaction using a direct current to drive the decomposition reaction of an aqueous solution of Sodium Chloride (salt water) into Sodium Hydroxide, Chlorine, and Hydrogen Gas.

2NaCl + 2H20 → CL2 + H2 + 2NaOH

The type of cell technology and design affect the specification and product characteristic of the Sodium Hydroxide produced. The most common and primary cells used are Diaphragm Cell and Membrane Cell. There are limited Mercury Cell units still used in production today, as that is Cell production process is being phased out domestically and internationally.

The resulting Sodium Hydroxide solution through a Diaphragm Cell unit is 10-12% and contains Sodium Chloride (salt) which has been transported through the diaphragm. This solution is then concentrated by evaporation to final product strength of 50% Sodium Hydroxide and about 2% Sodium Chloride.

The Membrane Cell differs from Diaphragm in that the Cell produces 32% Sodium Hydroxide  and contains significantly less Sodium Chloride in the final solution. The 32% Sodium Hydroxide produced from the Cells is then concentrated to 50% through evaporation.

Product Information

  • Shipped in full trucks, totes, and drums.

Grades of Liquid Caustic Soda in a variety of percentages:

  • Diaphragm Grade
  • Premium DH Grade
  • Membrane Grade
  • Mercury Cell Grade
Percentage concentration chart

Storage and Handling

  • Storage tanks should be labeled properly with the safety symbol, and identification plate.

Exposure Potential

  • Precautions should be taken in minimize potential harm to people, animals and the environment. Potential for exposure may vary depending upon site-specific conditions. When handling Caustic Soda, refer to the SDS and Product warning label and follow all instructions and warning.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Full length acid coat/suit, acid-proof gauntlet gloves, rubber boots, chemical splash goggles, hard hat with brim, face shield, and acid approved respirator.

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