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Sodium nitrate

Drugs & Medication

Sodium nitrate

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Name Sodium nitrate
Chemical formula NaNO3
Appearance White powder or colorless crystals
CAS number [7631-99-4]
Formula weight 84.9947 amu
Melting point 580 K (307 C)
Boiling point decomposes at 653 K (380 C)
Density 2.3 103 kg/m3
Crystal structure Trigonal
Solubility 92 g in 100mL water
Critical relative humidity 72.4% (30 C)
ΔfH0liquid -452 kJ/mol
ΔfH0solid -468 kJ/mol
S0solid 117 J/molK
Ingestion May cause gastroenteritis and abdominal pains.
NFPA 704
Inhalation respiratory irritation
Skin May cause irritation.
Eyes May cause irritation.
More info MSDS
SI units were used where possible. Unless otherwise stated, standard conditions were used.

Sodium nitrate (not to be confused with sodium nitrite) is a type of salt (NaNO3) which has long been used as an ingredient in explosives and in solid rocket propellants, as well as in glass and pottery enamel, and as a food preservative (such as in hot dogs), and has been mined extensively for those purposes. It is also variously known as caliche, Chile saltpeter, saltpeter, and soda niter.

The world's largest natural deposits of caliche ore were in the Atacama desert of Chile, and many deposits were mined for over a century, until the 1940s. The former Chilean saltpeter mining communities of Humberstone and Santa Laura were declared Unesco World Heritage sites in 2005.

Chile still has the largest reserves of caliche, with active mines in such locations as Pedro de Valdivia, Maria Elena and Pampa Blanca. Sodium nitrate, potassium nitrate, sodium sulfate and iodine are all obtained by the processing of caliche.

Sodium nitrate is also manufactured synthetically by reacting nitric acid with soda ash.


The compound has antimicrobial properties when used as a food preservative. It is found naturally in leafy green vegetables. It has possible health benefits for increasing oxygen to blood,[citation needed] as well as known health side effects in particular at high doses. Side effects may include increased risk of cancer (if intake occurs together with proteins, which builds cancerogenic nitrosamines), where according to MEDEM the US-NAS found no such evidence in experiments with laboratory animals. In case of overdosage the local poison control center is the contact of choice.

It can be used in the production of nitric acid by combining with sulfuric acid and subsequent separation through fractional distillation of the nitric acid, leaving behind a residue of sodium bisulfate.

Less common applications include an oxidizer used in gunpowder, in blackpowder rockets, and as replacement for potassium nitrate.

It can be used as a PCM.

External links

Home | Up | Edible salt | Potassium nitrate | Sodium nitrate | Sulfur dioxide

Drugs & Medication, made by MultiMedia | Free content and software

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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