Discover the Versatility of Caustic Soda: Essential Applications

Discover caustic soda's (sodium hydroxide) diverse applications, from household cleaning to industrial processes. Explore its roles in pharmaceuticals, food production, energy, and more. Learn about safety measures and ensure responsible usage for optimal results.

August 19, 2022

The moment you enter the supermarket, you will purchase the regular household items required to maintain the hygiene and cleanliness of your house. Caustic soda is one such ingredient that is one of the prime ingredients in such a product.

It is a chemical compound of sodium hydroxide, also known as Lye. Being an alkali, it can quickly neutralize acids and is soluble in water. 

With technological advancement and the availability of various machines, this substance can be bought in the form of pellets, flakes, powders, solutions, etc.

Significant uses of sodium hydroxide

It is natural on your part to question why to use sodium hydroxide. The reasons have been stated below, which will enlighten you.

1. Cleaning and disinfectant products

When you use soaps or detergents, you never think of sodium hydroxide. But this is a critical factor in all these products. 

The most effective drain cleaners containing sodium hydroxide convert the dirt and grease that jams the pipes into soaps that dissolve in water quickly.

2. Pharmaceutical and medicine

Pain relievers like aspirin, anticoagulants, and cholesterol management medications are all formulated with the help of caustic soda.

3. Energy

The energy sector also acknowledges its efficacy in fuel cell production. The primary function of fuel cells is to act like batteries to clean and facilitate the smooth production of electricity in various applications like transportation, material handling, etc. 

Wind turbines also use the epoxy resins produced with its help.

4. Water treatment

 The pH levels of water can be maintained with the help of caustic soda. Being alkali based it has a neutralizing property that is helpful in water treatment processes.
Not only does it remove acidity but also eliminates heavy metals from the water. Sodium hypochlorite can be derived from this chemical which is an effective water disinfectant.

5. Food production

Very often you hear about the pesticide in fruits. If you wash the fruits and vegetables with this chemical, then the impurities will be reduced to a large extent.

 Apart from this, chocolate, cocoa, and beverage processing, producing caramel colour, and thickening the ice-cream texture of it are facilitated by its use.
Removal of skins of the vegetables and curing olives can be quickly done with caustic soda.

Major edible oil refineries use it to remove the free fatty acids that impart an annoying smell to the oil. 

6. Wood and paper products

In paper recycling, this chemical is used to remove the ink from the paper fibres so that it can be reused again.

It is extensively applied in wood bleaching and cleaning. Moreover, in paper-making processes, the unwanted materials in the wood are dissolved after being treated with this solution to obtain pure cellulose which is the base of the paper.

7. Aluminium ore processing 

In metal factories, this substance is primarily used to extract the alumina for raw minerals like bauxite. 

Stay safe 

Caustic soda is considered to be a harmful substance in raw form, hence it should be handled after reading the instructions on its packaging.

You can store it in PVC tanks or even steel containers having protective covering so that it does not come in contact with moisture as this substance absorbs it easily.

Since it is corrosive, exposure to sodium hydroxide in solid or liquid form can lead to skin and eye irritation. 

Keep in handy, the rubber gloves, goggles, and safety clothing in case you are working with this substance.

Caustic soda can be purchased from a reliable source easily, but you should choose an entity that provides quality products. Or else the purpose of your buying will not be fulfilled.

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