Discovered by German-Dutch chemist Johann Rudolf Glauber in
1625, Glauber’s salt is the processed form of mineral mirabilite, a decahydrate
sodium sulfate. The hygroscopic nature of sodium sulfate causes it to absorb
water and moisture, forming Glauber’s salt. It exists as a natural resource and
is found in the bed of lakes such as in Saskatchewan.
Glauber’s salt is also a synonym for sodium sulfate anhydrous
and is commonly used in the industries. Sodium sulfate anhydrous, also known as
thenardite, has a formula of Na2SO4. It has an appearance
of white crystalline solid and is chemically very stable. It is unreactive
toward most oxidizing or reducing agents at normal temperatures. In addition to
that, it can be converted to sodium sulfide at high temperature by
Since Glauber’s salt is available in abundance as a natural
resource, almost two-thirds of the world’s production of Glauber’s salt come
from mining. This is done by pumping water into smaller ponds and allowing it
to evaporate. Upon evaporation, sodium sulfate crystals will be precipitated
out, and hence isolated and collected.
Byproduct from Manufacture of Viscose Rayon Fiber
Viscose Rayon Fiber is the oldest commercially available
man-made fiber. They are highly absorbent, soft and comfortable, easy to dye
and drapes well. It is manufactured using wood pulp and sodium hydroxide to
regenerate cellulose. Through a series of processes such as steeping and
pressing, viscose rayon fiber is manufactured, with sodium sulfate as a major
Byproduct from Manufacture of Methionine
Glauber’s salt is also manufactured as a byproduct in the
manufacture of methionine. Methionine, being one of the most essential amino
acids, is manufactured via fermentation process. Through fermentation process,
various nutrient mediums such as glucose or sugar cane juice yield different
amount of methionine and by-product, sodium sulfate.
Sodium sulfate is used as a â€œlevelingâ€ agent where it reduces
the negative charges on fibers. By doing so, it allows dyes to penetrate the
textiles evenly and effectively. In addition to that, it does not corrode the
stainless steel vessels used in dyeing as compared to the used by conventional
salt; sodium chloride.
The major use of sodium sulphate is as a filler in powder
products, for example in detergents. Nowadays, liquid detergent that doesnâ€™t
include sodium sulphate has become more popular which decreasing the used of
In paper industries, sodium sulphate is use in the Kraft process
of wood pulp. The wood chips loaded by sodium sulphate and being heated. This
cause the sodium sulphate reduce into sodium sulfide that breaks the bond in
cellulose of the wood, therefore the wood chips become soft and easily form
into wood pulp.
Another common use of sodium sulphate is in glass industries to
prevent the formation of air bubbles in molten glass. Sodium sulphate also act
as dryer for organic compound. It removes water from organic compound, although
it remove slower than another drying agent such as magnesium sulphate, it is
Sodium sulfate is used as a drying agent in an organic solvent.
During separation and extraction between an aqueous and an organic phase,
sodium sulfate is often added to the organic extracts to dry the organic phase.
It is also used in the de-frosting of windows, carpet fresheners, starch
manufacture, and additive to cattle feed.