The use of salt in industry applications


Nearly the 60% of the global production is intended to industrial applications, specially when ellaborating industrially synthesized sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and chloralkali used in the chemical industry. The human consumption represents only the 25%.

The global demand of salt for this kind of processes has been growing since the industrial revolution. In some cases, the use of salt to make chlorine has been reduced due to the fears of creating dioxins as subproducts. It is used to the preparation of brackish waters for fish tanks. There are some sectors of agriculture devoted to measure biosalinity (existing salt in the arable lands).

In farming, the salt is used to replace the lack of chlorine and sodium in the feeding of bovidae and ovidae, that lick salt in blocks placed along the meadows. It can also be supplied in a mixture with other minerals.

The salt has other uses than in food sectors. One of the most common sectors is in cold weather places, where it is employed in roads, streets, and road surfaces to melt the snow and to avoid ice.

In the time of the old ice-cream makers, the salt was used as insulation of the refrigerating conditions that were needed to make ice-cream edible for the largest time possible. Sometimes it is used as stain-remover to remove certain stains from clothes, to clean the copper cuttery, to keep the coal hot, to remove smells from containers, to restore sponges after being introduced in salt water, etc. In the old times, it was common to use salt in combination with other substances as the toothpaste, something that nowadays is still happening in some toothpaste labels that market dentifrices made with natural ingredients.

Another use for the salt is as a descaler agent. It is employed to smooth water out and to avoid that mineral salt is stucked in pipes and drinkable water tanks. It is used in the paper and leather industry (in tannery processes). It is also used in the soap and detergent industry. It is widely used in farming for the feeding of some animals like cows, pigs, horses, etc. Sometimes it is also used to make antifreeze salt waters. Since 1980s, it is employed in the ecological system of chlorination of water by electrolysis, allowing to sanitize and to keep water clean in swimming pools without the adding of chlorine. In interior design, there are lamps made up of salt.

In 1920s, the American company Diamond Crystal Salt Company from Michigan published a brochure in which they described almost one hundred possible uses of salt.

Salt is a source of chlorine that provides the chemical industry with big amounts of this element. A good example of that is its use in the production of the plastic called PVC (polyvinyl-chloride). This plastic is employed as an additive in the production of other derivative salts such as calcium hypochlorite (Ca(ClO)2), chlorine dioxide (ClO2), sodium chlorate (NaClO3), sodium fluorosilicate (Na2SiF6), sodium hypochlorite (NaClO), sodium perchlorate (NaClO4•H2O). It is obvious that salt is one of the most used compounds when obtaining chlorine gas and metallic sodium. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is used in the production of infusions, drugs and salines. It is common to use it in electrolysis in the so-called salt bridges. Sometimes it is used as mordant in the textile industry.

It is commonly used in SPAs and health resorts dissolved in baths (bath salts). It is also used to feet bath at home. It is employed to detach leeches.


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