Sodium Silicate

Sodium silicate is the common name for a compound sodium metasilicate, Na2SiO3, also known as water glass or liquid glass. It is available in aqueous solution and in solid form and is used in cements, passive fire protection, refractories, textile and lumber processing, and automobiles. Sodium carbonate and silicon dioxide react when molten to form sodium silicate and carbon dioxide:

Na2CO3 + SiO2 → Na2SiO3 + CO2

Anhydrous sodium silicate contains a chain polymeric anion composed of corner shared {SiO4} tetrahedral, and not a discrete SiO32− ion. In addition to the anhydrous form, there are hydrates with the formula Na2SiO3·nH2O (where n = 5, 6, 8, 9) which contain the discrete, approximately tetrahedral anion SiO2(OH)22− with water of hydration. For example, the commercially available sodium silicate pentahydrate Na2SiO3·5H2O is formulated as Na2SiO2(OH)2·4H2O and the nonahydrate Na2SiO3·9H2O is formulated as Na2SiO2(OH)2·8H2O.

In industry, the various grades of sodium silicate are characterized by their SiO2:Na2O ratio, which can vary between 2:1 and 3.75:1. Grades with this ratio below 2.85:1 are termed 'alkaline'. Those with a higher SiO2:Na2O ratio are described as 'neutral'.

Read more about Sodium SilicateHistory, Properties, CAS Registry Number and EINECS Number

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