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A white, odorless, hygroscopic solid in various forms. Most commonly used in the decahydrate form, which is produced mainly by precipitation from a saturated solution at room temperature (20°C), or during the Leblanc process (from sodium chloride and sulfuric acid).
The bulk of world production of na2so4 occurs in the decahydrate form, which makes up about 5.5 million tonnes per annum. Half is naturally produced, the other half a by-product of chemical production processes. It is one of the most important industrial raw materials, with major applications in manufacturing paper pulp by the Kraft process; in glass and water glass manufacture; in the manufacture of enamels; and as a drying agent. It is also a common laboratory reagent and is used to prepare other sodium salts. It is used in Kjeldahl nitrogen determination and for a variety of other analytical applications, such as the determination of the solubility of organic substances.
Na2SO4 is a strong contributor to the corrosion of iron and steel in water, which is a function of both its concentration and the pH of the solution. This corrosion is inhibited by the presence of other ions such as calcium ion and magnesium ion.
It is also used as a whitening agent in toothpaste, and as a filler in powdered home laundry detergents. It can be dissolved in water to make a pH neutralizer. It is used in chemical analysis as a reducing and dehydrating agent for protein and fats, and it is the basis of a number of diagnostic tests, such as the urinalysis test for renal disease. It can be measured in soil samples by flame photometry; an aliquot of the extract is atomized into a flame and the intensity of light emitted is read at 589 nm.