sodium sulfate(redirected from Glauber, Johann R.)
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Na2SO4, a salt; colorless crystals. Occurs naturally as the mineral thenardite. Density, 2.698 g/cm3; melting point, 884°C. Solubility in water, 16.3 percent at 20°C and 29.8 percent at 100°C. Anhydrous Na2SO4 is stable at temperatures above 32.384°C; lower temperatures induce the crystallization of Na2So4·10H2O. In nature, this crystal hydrate forms the mineral mirabilite (Glauber’s salt). Double salts of sodium sulfate with other sulfates, such as astrakhanite, Na2SO4·MgSO4 · 4H2O, and glauberite, Na2SO4·CaSo4 are also known.
Large quantities of sodium sulfate are found in brine and in the bottom deposits of chloride-sulfate salt lakes and the gulf of Kara-Bogaz-Gol (USSR). The reaction 2NaCL + MgSO4⇆MgCl2 + Na2So4 takes place there upon a reduction in temperature. Sodium sulfate crystallizes in the form of mirabilite. Another method for the preparation of Na2SO4 is the reaction of NaCl and H2SO4 in special “sulfate” furnaces at 500°-55O°C, which also yields hydrochloric acid.
Sodium sulfate is used in glass-making, the manufacture of sulfate cellulose, soap-making, tanning, nonferrous metallurgy, and textile manufacture, as well as in medicine and veterinary science (as a laxative). Sodium bisulfate, NaHSO4, and sodium disulfate (pyrosulfate), Na2S2O7, are used in the same way as KHSO4 and K2S2O7.