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Sodium Hydroxide – An Overview

Sodium hydroxide is a highly caustic substance that is used to neutralize acids and make sodium salts. At room temperature, sodium hydroxide is a white crystalline odourless solid that absorbs moisture from the air. It is a manufactured substance. When dissolved in water or neutralized with acid it liberates substantial heat, which may be sufficient to ignite combustible materials. Sodium hydroxide is very corrosive. It is generally used as a solid or a 50% solution. Other common names include caustic soda and lye. Let's discover more here in detail. 

Sodium hydroxide is used to manufacture soaps, rayon, paper, explosives, dyestuffs, and petroleum products. It is also used in processing cotton fabric, laundering and bleaching, metal cleaning and processing, oxide coating, electroplating, and electrolytic extracting. It is commonly present in the commercial drain and oven cleaners.

According to the FDA, sodium hydroxide is considered a direct food recognized as safe, where it serves as a pH control agent and follows good manufacturing guidelines. Interestingly, sodium hydroxide has been studied for its use in the treatment of prion disease. 

Sodium hydroxide solution appears as a colourless liquid. Denser than water. Contact may severely irritate skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Toxic by ingestion. Corrosive to metals and tissue.