Sodium Sulfate (Na2SO4) is an electrostatically bonded ionic sulfate salt that is readily soluble in aqueous solutions. It is commonly found in organic liquids as a drying agent and as a filler in powdered home laundry detergents.
Various forms of sodium sulfate are mined naturally from mineral deposits in lakes and surface depressions throughout the world. Mirabilite, thenardite and astrakanite are the most common of these natural forms. The colder and more arid climates of northern Canada, the former Soviet Union and South America favor formation of mirabilite while warmer climates tend to produce thenardite.
The decahydrate, known as Glauber’s salt, was formerly used as a laxative. It is also a drying agent in organic synthesis and a laboratory reagent. It is also an additive to cattle feed and in carpet fresheners.
It is often used to prepare hydrochloric acid, a process invented by Johann Glauber in the seventeenth century. It is also a by-product of the manufacture of phenol by caustic fusion.
Sodium sulfate is available in several different forms including high purity, submicron and nanopowder form. Sodium sulfate is also available as an acidic source in the form of aqueous and alkaline solutions and sometimes as an organometallic ion for applications such as water treatment. Sodium sulfate can be purchased in bulk or in small volumes for use in analytical and research purposes. It can also be used for flame photometry, a non-destructive measurement of concentrations in water.