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Sodium hydroxide (NaOH)- Structure, Properties & Uses

Sep 2, 2022

Uses of sodium hydroxide – Sodium hydroxide uses like Sodium hydroxide in soap etc

Sodium Hydroxide is an inorganic chemical often present in a white solid appearance at ambient temperature. This chemical substance comprises sodium Na+positive ions and hydroxide OH negative ions. NaOH is the sodium hydroxide formula.

It is also often used to make several goods, including newspaper, soap and cleansers, paper pulp, ammunition, liquid drain, stove cleansers, etc. It is sometimes called caustic soda or Iye. One of the commonest hydroxides is sodium hydroxide. Due to these properties, it is frequently employed to estimate the pH scale together with flat water and (acidic) HCl solution.


Structure of Sodium Hydroxide 

Sodium hydroxide structure comprises a sodium ion with a positive charge and a hydroxyl ion with a negative charge. Thus, the sodium hydroxide formula is NaOH. One electron from sodium’s external shell is entirely transferred towards the oxygen in the hydroxyl molecule. The positive charge of sodium is due to the protons outnumbering the electrons. The oxygen in the hydroxyl group gains a negative charge when it receives one electron into its valence shell, making the total charge of the sodium hydroxide structure zero. 

Because the ionic interaction between Na+ and OHis just an electrical attraction, there is no physical relationship between them.


Physical Properties of Sodium Hydroxide

  • In its purest form, sodium oxide is a white, crystallized substance.
  • It has no smell.
  • It is dissolvable in glycerin, alcohol, and water. When water and crystalline NaOH are combined, a very exothermic reaction happens.
  • NaOH has a viscosity of 78 mPas, which is greater than water.
  • It can create various solutions. Dihydrate, Trihydrate, Tetrahydrate, Pentahydrate, Heptahydrate, and Monohydrate are a few of the more well-known hydrates.
  • It can quickly draw water and carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
  • It is also capable of existing as a liquid.
  • Sodium hydroxide weighs 2.13 grams per cubic centimetre or 2130 kilogram per cubic metre, i.e., the sodium hydroxide density is equal to 2130 kg/m³; at 25°C (77°F or 298.15K) at standard atmospheric pressure.
  • This molecule consists of one sodium atom, one oxygen atom, and a single hydrogen atom. The total molar mass of sodium hydroxide’s components, also known as sodium hydroxide molar mass, is obtained. So we can add the known molar masses.  

 22.989g/mol + 15.999g/mol + 1.008g/mol = 39.996g/mol.

 Thus, the sodium hydroxide molar mass is 39.996g/mol.


Chemical Properties of Sodium Hydroxide 

  • The Na(+1) ion and OH(-1) ion are bonded together ionically.
  • It may combine with protic acids to create salts and water.
  • It is highly acidic, with an acidity level of 13.
  • It is a common base for removing amphoteric oxides. Amphoteric oxides are substances that can behave as both an acid and a base.
  • In the hydroxyl group, oxygen and hydrogen have a covalent link.
  • The caustic soda residues are converted into soda ash, an alkali soda, which is then produced using sodium hydroxide. It’s known as the Kraft method. Following refinement, the salt is subsequently transformed into sodium sulphate (gypsum) and dissolved in water to create a calcium sulfate solution known as gypsum.
  • It’s crucial to understand that sodium carbonate salt differs chemically from soda, sometimes referred to as soda ash or soda. Bicarbonate, or soda bicarbonate, is another name for sodium carbonate.
  • Bicarbonate is specifically employed as a chemical absorbent to eliminate acids from the air, gas and oil reserves, and metal components.

Uses of Sodium Hydroxide 

Numerous items used daily, including paper, metal, drainage, oven cleansers for industry, soap, and detergents, are made with sodium hydroxide.

In Cleansing and Sterilizing Solutions

Soaps and many detergents used in households and businesses are made with sodium hydroxide. By mixing chlorine with sodium hydroxide, chlorine bleach is created. Dirt and grease that might block pipes are transformed into a lather by sodium hydroxide-containing cleaning agents. This soap then dissolves in water.


Utilization of Sodium Hydroxide in Drugs and Medicine

Sodium hydroxide is employed in producing a wide range of pharmaceuticals and drugs, including aspirin, an anticoagulant that can help avoid blood clots, and medicines that lower cholesterol.

Energy from Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide is used to manufacture fuel cells in the energy industry. Fuel cells function similarly to batteries to create energy sustainably and effectively for various uses, such as transportation, material handling, and fixed and emergency generator uses. In windmills, epoxies made with sodium hydroxide are employed.


Utilizing Sodium Hydroxide to Treat Wastewater

Sodium hydroxide is used in urban water treatment plants to reduce water acidity and aid in the removal of harmful metals. The water sanitizing agent sodium hypochlorite is also made using sodium hydroxide.

Production of Food Using Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide is utilized in the food manufacturing industry for various purposes, including preserving foods like olives. Sodium hydroxide is used to dissolve the skins of prepared tomatoes, peppers, fruits and vegetables for preservation. It is also a component of food stabilizers that work to stop mould and bacteria from forming in food.


Wood and paper industry

Wood is processed with sodium hydroxide and sulphide in various paper-making procedures. The mixture aids in dissolving most of the undesirable stuff in the wood, releasing cellulose, the building block of paper that is comparatively pure.

Sodium hydroxide is employed in the paper refining process to remove the ink from the paper fibres so that the paper fibres may be utilised again. Additionally, wood bleaching, cleaning, and the purification of raw resources for wood items like cupboards and furnishings all use sodium hydroxide.


Sodium Hydroxide in the Processing of Aluminium Ore

Alumina is extracted from naturally existing minerals using sodium hydroxide. Aluminium and several items, such as tinfoil, canisters, kitchenware, and aeroplane components, are made from alumina. Aluminium is a substance commonly used in design and construction to allow for building facades and glass panels.

Uses of Sodium Hydroxide in Different Industrial Sectors

Numerous commercial and industrial operations employ sodium hydroxide. It produces lycra, rayon, acrylics, glassware, ceramics, explosives, and epoxies. Additionally, it is utilised in the metal cleansing and treatment, oxide coating, electroplating, and electrolytic extraction industries, as well as in the garment industries to create colours, prepare textiles, wash, and bleach garments.

Applications at Home

Cleaning is one of the main applications of caustic soda in everyday life. An acidic mixture may quickly and efficiently clean various instruments and utensils. Sodium hydroxide is an ingredient in many household cleaners. It is advised against using it with bare hands. The main household applications for caustic soda are tile, drain, and oven cleaning.

You may easily clean even the most difficult-to-reach areas of the flooring, kitchen countertops, and appliances of fat, oil, filth, etc. Washing becomes a pretty straightforward task. You can unclog a drain, restore your appliances, and give your kitchen a new look with only a sponge and the sodium hydroxide solution.


Sodium hydroxide is one of the most often utilised alkalis in industry. Sodium hydroxide’s chemical formula is NaOH, and the sodium hydroxide density is 2.13 g/cm³. The chemical formula demonstrates how this alkali is made up of one sodium atom bound to a hydroxyl ion. Sodium is an exceptionally reactive metal that burns when in contact with water.

The intense reaction generates a tremendous quantity of heat. Consequently, it is created in chemical enterprises and labs more safely. In everyday life, sodium hydroxide is used as a cleanser and soap.Like other acidic or alkaline solutions, droplets of sodium hydroxide solutions can easily break down proteins and enzymes in living tissues through amide hydroxylation, resulting in chemical burns and may cause long-term blindness when contact is made with the eyes.

Pure alkali can also manifest its caustic character if moisture is present, such as water vapour. Therefore, safety gear such as rubber gloves, safety clothes, and protective goggles should always be worn when working with this substance or its solutions. Alkali spills on the skin often require the same preliminary aid procedures as other corrosives: extensive rinsing with water. For a minimum of ten to fifteen minutes, washing is performed.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sodium Hydroxide

Q1. What is the correct way to store NaOH?

A: Given that sodium hydroxide poses a burn risk when handled for use, particularly in large quantities, you should keep it with caution. For usage on a small scale in laboratories, sodium hydroxide can be kept in containers.

It would help if you kept it in intermediary bulk containers for cargo handling and transportation (medium volume containers). NaOH should be kept in sizable permanent storage tanks with quantities up to 100,000 gallons for extended uses, such as in industrial or wastewater treatment facilities.

Q2. What are Sodium Hydroxide’s uses in households?

A: Many cleansers and detergents are formed of fatty acid sodium salts. The majority of household cleaning supplies also include sodium hydroxide. NaOH is a crucial ingredient in stove and drains cleaners as well. As you can see, cleansing and unclogging are two of NaOH’s residential purposes.

Q3. Does sodium hydroxide cause serious side effects in humans?

A: Sodium hydroxide is severely acidic and unpleasant. Any area it contacts might suffer from severe burns and long-lasting impairment. Proteins can be hydrolyzed by sodium hydroxide, which can result in eye burns and long-term eye damage.

  • Human tissues are destroyed by the potent and incredibly caustic alkali sodium hydroxide.
  • NaOH eye contact can result in blindness for life.
  • NaOH on the skin can cause quite bad chemical burns.
  • Splashing can burn due to the strong exothermic nature of sodium hydroxide.
Sodium Hydroxide


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