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Bag of natron
MFA# 21.11914.2



1) An old name for native Sodium carbonate. Sodium carbonate occurs as a mixture of the minerals thermonatrite (hydrate), natron (decahydate), and Trona (sesquicarbonate).

2) A naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium carbonate decahydrate.

3. The name 'natron' is commonly used for the natural mixture of salts obtained from the dry lake beds and mineral deposits. Its composition can vary widely: sodium carbonate (5-75%), Sodium bicarbonate (5-32%), Sodium chloride (0-62%), sodium sulfate (0-70%), Silica (3-10%), Water, and insoluble components (0-17%: such as Calcium carbonate, Magnesium carbonate, Alumina, iron oxide, and organic matter). In ancient Egypt, natron was used for making Incense, manufacturing Glass, for bleaching Linen, and as a Preservative in the mummification process.

Synonyms and Related Terms

natrite; soda; mineral alkali; sodium carbonate decahydrate; sodium sesquicarbonate; natron (Fr., It.); Composition = Na2CO3.10H2O

Resources and Citations

  • R. Mayer, The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, Viking Press, New York, 1981
  • A.Lucas, J.R.Harris, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd., London, 4th edition, 1962. p. 493-494.
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998