Sodium Chloride or Common Salt

The salt industry is as old as humankind. Salt has long an essential part of the human diet. It has served as an object of worship and as a medium of exchange, lumps of salt being used in Tibet and Mongolia for money. Its distribution was employed as a political weapon by ancient governments, and in Oriental countries high taxes were placed on salt. Salt is a vital basic commodity for life but is also a source of many of the chemical that are now the mainstay of our complex industrial civilization. The world “salary” is derived from the word “salt.”

Uses and Economics:
Sodium chloride is the basic raw material of a material of a great many chemical compounds, such as sodium hydroxide, sodium sulfate, hydrochloric acid, sodium phosphates and sodium chlorate and chlorite, and it is the source of many other compounds through its derivatives. Practically all the chlorine produced in the world is manufacture by electrolysis of sodium chloride. Salt is used in the regeneration of sodium zeolite water softeners and has many applications in the manufacture of organic chemicals.

The production of chlorine and sodium hydroxide accounts for 50 percent of salt usage in the United States. Soda ash manufacturing requires 6 percent; however, this will decline in the coming years as natural soda ash from Trona increases in production and more old ammonia soda ash plants are closed down, primarily because they pollute streams. Highway use accounts for 21 percent, and salt for food uses and related activities is about 3 percent. All other chemical requirements come to about 20 percent of the total use.

The world production of salt in 1980 was over 163 x 103 t. US production was 37 x 106 t and imports amounted to 4.8 x 106 t, with a combined value of over $ 700 million. Reserves are large in the principal salt producing countries, but the grade in unknown. The ocean offer an additional almost inexhaustible supply of salt.


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