List Of Contents | Contents of An Introduction to Chemical Science
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

lakes, whose waters sometimes hold thirty per cent, or are nearly
saturated, and, as rock salt, in large masses underground. Poland
has a salt area of 10,000 square miles, in some parts of which
the pure transparent rock salt is a quarter of a mile thick. In
Spain there is a mountain of salt five hundred feet high and
three miles in circumference. France obtains much salt from sea
water. At high tide it flows into shallow basins, from which the
sun evaporates the water, leaving NaCl to crystallize. In Norway
it is separated by freezing water, and in Poland it is mined like
coal. In New York and Michigan it is obtained by evaporating the
brine of salt wells, either by air and the sun's heat, or by
fire. Slow evaporation gives large crystals; rapid, small ones.

228. Uses.--The main uses are for domestic purposes and for
making the Na and Cl compounds. In the United States the
consumption amounts to more than forty pounds per year for every

229. Sodium Sulphate.--What acid and what base are represented by
Na2SO4? Which is the stronger acid, HCl or H2SO4? Would the
latter be apt to act on NaCl? Why?

230. Manufacture.--This comprises two stages shown by the
following reactions, in which the first needs moderate heat only;
the last, much greater.

(1) 2 NaCl + H2SO4 = HNaSO4 + NaCl + HCl:
(2) NaCl + HNaSO4 = Na2S4 + HCl.

The operation is carried on in large furnaces. The gaseous HCl is
passed into towers containing falling water in a fine spray, for
which it has great affinity. The solution is drawn off at the
base of the tower. Thus all commercial HCl is made as a by-
product in manufacturing Na2SO4.

When crystalline, sodium sulphate has ten molecules of water of
crystallization (Na2SO4, 10 H2O); it is then known as Glauber's
salt. This salt readily effloresces; i.e. loses its water of
crystallization, and is reduced to a powder. Compute the
percentage of water.

231. Uses.--The leading use of Na2SO4 is to make Na2CO3; it is
also used to some extent in medicine, and in glass manufacture.
232. Sodium Carbonate.--Note the base and the acid which this
salt represents. Test a solution of the salt with red and blue
litmus, and notice the alkaline reaction. Do you see any reason
for this reaction in the strong base and the weak acid
represented by the salt?

233. Manufacture.--Na2CO3 is not made by the union of an acid and
a base, nor is H2CO3 strong enough to act on many salts. The
process must be indirect. This consists in reducing Na2SO, to
Na2S, by taking away the O with C, charcoal, and then changing
Na2S to Na2O3 by CaCO3, limestone. The three substances, Na2SO4,
C, CaCO3, are mixed together and strongly heated. The reactions
should be carefully studied, as the process is one of much

(1) Na2SO4 + 4 C = Na2S + 4 CO.
(2) Na2S + CaCO3 = CaS + Na2CO3.

Observe that C is the reducing agent. The gas CO escapes. The
solid products Na2CO3 and CaS form black ash, the former being
very soluble, the latter only sparingly soluble in water. Na2CO3
is dissolved out by water, and the water is evaporated. This
gives commercial soda. CaS, the waste compound in the process,
contains the S originally in the H2SO4 used. This can be
partially separated and again made into acid. Describe the
manufacture of NaCO3 in full, starting with NaCl. This is called
the Le Blanc process, but is not the only one now employed to
produce this important article.

234. Occurrence.-Sodium carbonate is found native in small
quantities. It forms the chief surface deposit of the "alkali
belt" in western United States, where it often forms
incrustations from an inch to a foot in thickness. It was
formerly obtained from sea-weeds, by leaching their ashes, as, by
a like process, K2CO3 was obtained from land plants.

235. Uses.--Na2CO3 forms the basis of many alkalies, as H2SO4
does of acids. Of all chemical compounds it is one of the most
important, and its manufacture constitutes one of the greatest
chemical industries. Its economical manufacture largely depends
on the demand for HCl, which is always formed as a by-product. As
but little HCl is used in this country, Na2CO3 is mostly
manufactured in Europe. The chief uses are for glass and

236. Sodium.--Na must always be kept under naphtha, or some other
liquid compound containing no O, since it oxidizes at once on
exposure to the air. For this reason it never occurs in a free

237. Preparation.-By depriving Na2CO3 of C and O, metallic sodium
is formed. As usual, heated charcoal is the reducing agent. The
end of the retort, which holds the mixture, dips under naphtha.

Na2CO3 + 2 C = 2 Na + 3 CO. The process is a difficult one, and
Na brings five dollars per pound, though in its compounds it is a
third as common as Fe. K is as abundant as Na, but more difficult
of separation, and is worth three dollars per ounce. Notice the
position of K and Na at the positive end of the elements.

238. Uses.--Na is used to reduce Al, Ca, Mg, Si, which are the
most difficult elements to separate from their compounds. It acts
in these cases as a reducing agent.

239. Sodium Hydrate. Review Experiment 62.

Experiment 118.--Put into a t.t. 10cc. H2O and 2 or 3 g. NaOH.
Note its easy solubility. Test with litmus. Will it neutralize
any acids?

240. Preparation. -- Sodium hydrate, caustic soda, or soda by
lime, is made by treating a solution of Na2CO3 with milk of lime.
CaCO3 is precipitated and al- lowed to settle, the solution is
poured off, and NaOH is obtained by evaporating the water and
running the residue into molds.

241. Use.--NaOH is a powerful caustic, but its chief use is in
making hard soap.

242. Hydrogen Sodium Carbonate.--Hydrogen so- dium carbonate,
bicarbonate of sodium, acid sodium carbonate, cooking-soda, etc.,
HNaCO3, is prepared by passing CO2 into a solution of Na2CO3.
Na2CO3 + H2O + CO2 = 2 HNaCO3. Test a solution of it with litmus.
Account for the result. Its use in bread-making depends on the
ease with which CO2 is liberated. Even a weak acid, as the lactic
acid of sour milk, sets this free, and thus causes the dough to

243. Sodium Nitrate.--Sodium nitrate occurs in Chili and Peru. It
is the main source of HNO3.

Review Experiments 46 and 52. From NaNO3 is also made KNO3,
(NaNO3 + KCl = NaCl + KNO3), one of the ingredients of gunpowder.
By reason of its deliqcescence NaNO3 is not suitable for making
gunpowder, though it is sometimes used for blasting-powder. The
action of the latter is slower than that made from KNO3. NaNO3 is
cheaper and more abundant than KNO3; this is true of most Na
compounds in comparison with those of K.

Chapter XLV.



Examine K, KCl, K2SO4, K2CO3, KOH, HKCO3, KCLO3, KCN.

244. Occurrence and Preparation.--Potassium occurs only in
combination, chiefly as silicates, in such minerals as feldspar
and mica. By their disintegration it forms a part of soils from
which such portions as are soluble are taken up by plants. The
ashes of land-plants are leached in pots to dissolve K2CO3; hence
it is called potash. Sea-plants likewise give rise to Na2CO3.
Wood ashes originally formed the main source of K2CO3. From
plants this substance is taken into the animal system, and makes
a portion of its tissue. Sheep excrete it in sweat, which is then
absorbed by their wool. Large quantities are now obtained by
washing wool and evaporating the water. K2CO3 and other compounds
of K are mainly derived from KCl, beds of which exist in Germany.

In the following list each K compound is prepared like the same
Na compound, and the uses of each of the former are similar to
those of the latter. K compounds are made in much smaller
quantities than those of Na, as KCl is far less common than NaCl.

                                           { K
                    KCl  { K2SO4 { K2CO3   { KOH
                    KNO3 {                 { HKCO3

Examine specimens of each, side by side with like Na compounds.
Describe in full their preparation, giving the reactions. Also,
perform theexperiments given under Na, substituting K therefor.
From KOH are made KClO3 and KCN.

KOH {KCl03

245. Potassium Chlorate.--KCl03 is made by passing Cl into a hot
concentrated solution of KOH.

6 KOH + 6 Cl = KCl03 + 5 KCl + 3 H2O

Its uses are making O, and as an oxidizing agent.

246. Potassium Cyanide, KCN, is a salt from HCN--hydrocyanic or
prussic acid. Each is about equally poisonous, and more so than
any other known substance. A drop of pure HCN on the tongue will
produce death quickly by absorption into the system. In examining
these compounds take care not to handle them or to inhale the
fumes. KCN is used as a solvent for metals in electro-plating,
and is the source of many cyanides, i.e. compounds of CN and a
metal. KCN is employed to kill insects for cabinet specimens. In
a wide-mouthed bottle is placed a little KCN, which is covered
with cotton, and over this a perforated paper. The bottle is
inverted over the insect, and the fumes destroy life without
injuring the delicate parts. HCN is made from KCN and H2SO4.

247. Gunpowder.--Gunpowder is a mixture of KNO3, C, and S. Heat
or concussion causes a chemical change, and transforms the solids
into gases. These gases at the moment of explosion occupy 1500 or
more times the volume of the solids. Hence the great rending
power of powder. If not confined, powder burns quietly but
quickly. The appended reaction is a part of what takes place, but
it by no means represents all the chemical changes.

2KNO3 + S + 3C =K2S + 2N + 3CO2.

From this equation compute the percentage, by weight, of each
substance used to make gunpowder economically.

Thoroughly burned charcoal, distilled sulphur, and the purest
nitre are powdered and mixed in a revolving drum,made into a
paste with water, put under great pressure between sheets of gun
metal, granulated, sifted, to separate the coarse and fine
grains, and glazed by revolving in a barrel which sometimes
contains a little powdered graphite.

Experiment 119.--Pulverize and mix intimately 4 g. KNO3, l/2 g.

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: