How to Make Sodium Nitrate

Sodium nitrate (NaNO3) is a white solid at room temperature and is very soluble in water. Pure sodium nitrate is commonly used as a food preservative and rocket propellant. It is also an ingredient in many products, such as fertilizers and pyrotechnics. Sodium nitrate is primarily obtained by mining it in the form of nitratine, but it can also be commercially synthesized. Additionally, there are several ways that sodium nitrate can be produced experimentally.

    Make sodium nitrate commercially by neutralizing nitric acid (HNO3) with soda ash (Na2CO3). This reaction yields sodium nitrate and carbonic acid, which immediately decomposes into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H20). The following equation shows this reaction: Na2CO3 + 2 HNO3 ? 2 NaNO3 + H2CO3 ? 2NaNO3 +CO2 + H2O.

    Combine aqueous solutions of aluminum nitrate Al(NO3)3 and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) to yield sodium nitrate and aluminum hydroxide Al(OH)3. The aluminum hydroxide will precipitate out as a gelatinous white solid, leaving the sodium nitrate in solution. The following equation shows this reaction: Al(NO3)3 + 3 NaOH ? Al(OH)3 + 3 NaNO3.

    Mix lead nitrate Pb(NO3)2 and sodium hydroxide into a solution to yield sodium nitrate and lead hydroxide Pb(OH)2. The lead hydroxide will precipitate out as a white solid and leave the sodium hydroxide in solution. The following equation shows this reaction: Pb(NO3)2 + 2 NaOH = Pb(OH)2 + 2 NaNO3.

    Mix a solution of iron nitrate Fe(NO3) and sodium hydroxide to make sodium nitrate and iron hydroxide Pb(OH)2. Sodium nitrate will remain in the solution and iron hydroxide will drop out as a white solid. This equation shows the reaction: Fe(NO3)3 + 3 NaOH ? 3 NaNO3 + Fe(OH)3.

    Combine solutions of calcium nitrate Ca(NO3) and sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) to yield sodium nitrate and calcium carbonate NaNO3. Sodium nitrate will remain in the solution and calcium carbonate will precipitate out as a white solid. This following equation shows this reaction: Ca(NO3)2 + Na2CO3 = 2 NaNO3 + CaCO3.

About the Author

Allan Robinson has written numerous articles for various health and fitness sites. Robinson also has 15 years of experience as a software engineer and has extensive accreditation in software engineering. He holds a bachelor's degree with majors in biology and mathematics.

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