2 minute read

Sodium Chloride


Since ancient times, the salt sodium chloride has been of importance. It has been used in numerous ways including the flavoring and preserving of food and even as a form of money. This salt improves the flavor of food items such as breads and cheeses, and it is an important preservative in meat, dairy products, margarine and other items, because it retards the growth of microorganisms. Salt promotes the natural development of color in ham and hot dogs and enhances the tenderness of cured meats like ham by causing them to absorb water. In the form of iodized salt, it is a carrier of iodine. (Iodine is necessary for the synthesis of our thyroid hormones which influence growth, development and metabolic rates).

The chemical industry uses large amounts of sodium chloride salt to produce other chemicals. Chlorine and sodium hydroxide are electrolically produced from brine. Chlorine products are used in metal cleaners, paper bleach, plastics and water treatment. The chemical soda ash, which contains sodium, is used to manufacture glass, soaps, paper, and water softeners. Chemicals produced as a result of sodium chloride reactions are used in ceramic glazes, metallurgy, curing of hides, and photography.

Sodium chloride has a large and diverse range of uses. It is spread over roads to melt ice by lowering the melting point of the ice. The salt has an important role in the regulation of body fluids. It is used in medicines and livestock feed. In addition, salt caverns are used to store chemicals such as petroleum and natural gas.



Emsley, John. The Consumer's Good Chemical Guide. New York: W.H. Freeman & Spektrum, 1994.

Hazen, Robert and Trefil, James. Science Matters. New York: Doubleday, 1991.

Lide, D.R., ed. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2001.

Snyder, C.H. The Extraordinary Chemistry of Ordinary Things. 4th ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2002.

Tocci, Salvatore and Viehland, Claudia. Chemistry Visualizing Matter. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Dana M. Barry


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


—A solution of sodium chloride and water that may or may not contain other salts.


—An atom or molecule which has acquired electrical charge by either losing electrons (positively charged ion) or gaining electrons (negatively charged ion).

Ionic bond

—The attractive forces between positive and negative ions that exist when electrons have been transferred from one atom to another.

Ionic compound

—A compound consisting of positive ions (usually, metal ions) and negative ions (nonmetal ions) held together by electrostatic attraction.

Solar evaporation

—A method of water evaporation that uses the sun as a source of energy.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Adam Smith Biography to Spectroscopic binarySodium Chloride - Bonds, Location And Processing, Mining, Evaporation, Uses - Properties