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anhydrous sodium sulfate mw, (Na2SO4-xH2O), is a white monoclinic crystal or powder with refractive index 1.394, hardness 1.8 Mohs and density 1.4 6g/cm3. It is hygroscopic and absorbs moisture from the air. It is used for drying non-aqueous solvents and for removing traces of water from glass during manufacture.
It is also widely used as a “fining agent” in molten glass to remove small air bubbles and to help in “levelling” the fabric. It also helps in preventing the formation of scum during refining. It is mainly produced in the form of the decahydrate, Na2SO4*10H2O, known as Glauber’s salt, which accounts for about half of world production.
Biologically active in nature, a significant amount of natural sodium sulfate is found in the Earth’s crust and in seawater. It is part of the sulfate cycle and can be reduced by sulfate-reducing bacteria, or incorporated into living organisms as a source of sulphur, and it re-oxidises in the atmosphere and oceans to sulfur dioxide and sulfate.
Bioavailability of large doses of sodium sulfate
Sodium sulfate is absorbed slowly and incompletely from the digestive tract in humans. However, it is soluble in a large number of organic compounds and can be readily dissolved in water. Moreover, it is able to be absorbed in small amounts by the intestines of laboratory animals. This is probably because the ions in it are not able to hydrolyse in the intestinal cells.
The rapid and almost complete absorption of sodium sulfate after ingestion was investigated in rats using 35S radioactivity to measure the plasma and urine concentrations of the substance. The plasma and urine levels were measurable after 15 min and a peak was reached after about 1.5-2 hr, respectively. The sulfate concentration in the serum 2 hr after administration of 5.0 mmol Na2SO4 was three-fold higher than that of the unlabelled solution, indicating an almost complete absorption.