Sodium carbonate

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White, odorless crystals. Sodium carbonate has three distinct hydrated forms. The monohydrate is commonly called sodium carbonate while anhydrous sodium carbonate is called Soda ash, and sodium carbonate decahydrate is called Sal soda, or natron. Anhydrous sodium carbonate occurs in nature as the mineral thermonatrite. It forms a strongly alkaline aqueous solution and is used in the manufacture of Leather and Paper. Sodium carbonate is used as an ingredient in some types of Glass, detergents, bleaches, and water softeners. It is also used in photographic developing baths and textiles Dye baths.



Chemical structure

Sodium carbonate.jpg

Synonyms and Related Terms

soda; sodium carbonate monohydrate; soda monohydrate; soda crystals; calcined soda ash


  • Noncombustible.
  • Toxic by ingestion and inhalation.
  • Corrosive.
  • Skin contact will cause burns.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in water, glycerol. Insoluble in ethanol.

Composition NaCO3 - H2O
CAS 497-19-8
Melting Point 109 C
Density 1.55 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 105.99
Refractive Index 1.415, 1.535, 1.546

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 734
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • John and Margaret Cannon, Dye Plants and Dyeing, Herbert Press, London, 1994
  • The Dictionary of Paper, American Paper Institute, New York, Fourth Edition, 1980
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 8739
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Photographic chemicals:
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index = 1.415, 1.535, 1.546