Q:

What are some common uses for sodium hydroxide?

A:

Sodium hydroxide is used in drain and oven cleaners, chemical manufacturing, oil refining, hydraulic fracturing, water treatment and metal processing. It is also commonly used in the manufacture of fabric, plastic wrap, paper and soap, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

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Sodium hydroxide is likely the strongest alkali found in everyday use. It is extremely corrosive and should be handled carefully. Sodium hydroxide is a white solid at room temperature and has a waxy consistency.

Sodium hydroxide was in use a long time before it was actually discovered. Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians used sodium hydroxide in a weakened state when they mixed vegetable ashes with water to make lye. Humphrey Davy first gave name to this substance in 1807 when he discovered the element sodium.

Sodium is an excellent degreaser and can unblock drains because it dissolves fats when it interacts with them. Extreme care must be taken when using sodium hydroxide. It is very caustic and can burn the skin. Additional problems are experienced if it is ingested or inhaled. Ingestion results in vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and damage to the mouth, throat and stomach. Severe damage to the upper respiratory tract can occur if sodium hydroxide is inhaled.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the chemical formula for sodium hydroxide?

    A:

    The chemical formula for sodium hydroxide is NaOH. Na is the symbol for sodium and OH is the chemical formula for hydroxide, which is made up of one atom of oxygen, represented by O, and one atom of hydrogen, represented by H.

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  • Q:

    What is sodium bisulfate?

    A:

    Sodium bisulfate is a dry acid often used as a fungicide, herbicide, pH adjuster or microbiocidein. It comes in a variety of consistencies, such as a powder, granular or crystal form, and is commonly found in metal finishing and swimming pool and household cleaning products.

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    What is sodium used for?

    A:

    Sodium is used to create industrial and manufacturing compounds and is also a common additive in salts, baking soda and baking powder. Sodium is unique in that it is a mineral with nutritional and economic benefits. Sodium is essential for humans and other organisms and is also a key ingredient in many compounds, such as sodium compounds.

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    What is sodium metabisulfite?

    A:

    Sodium metabisulfite is used as a food preservative, a medical antioxidant and a disinfectant for brewing and winemaking equipment. It prevents bacterial growth on equipment and in fermented alcoholic beverages, and it extends the shelf life of local anesthetics and injectable hormones by preventing them from oxidizing.

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