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Sodium Acetate Properties

Sodium Acetate Properties

Sodium acetate, which acts as a food preservative, is also used to manufacture cloth and cosmetics. Scroll down to know some important properties of sodium acetate, which make this compound so versatile...
Leena Palande
The sodium salt of acetic acid is known as sodium acetate. It is a white or colorless crystalline compound. Most of you must have read the name 'sodium diacetate', on the label of salt and vinegar flavored potato chips, since it is a popular seasoning agent used to make chips. What are the exceptional physical and chemical properties of sodium acetate that promote various uses of this compound? Answer to this question is provided here.

Sodium Acetate Physical Properties
  • Chemical Formula: CH3COONa or C2H3NaO2
  • Appearance: White powder which turns into liquid after absorbing moisture
  • Odor: Slight acetic acid odor
  • pH: 8.9
  • Molecular weight: 82.03379 g/mol
  • Specific gravity is 1.45 (it is 1.45 times denser than water)
  • Boiling point: 881.4 degrees C (anhydrous) and 122 degrees C (trihydrate)
  • Melting point: 324 degrees C (anhydrous) and 58 degrees C (trihydrate)
  • Loses water at 120 degrees C (248 degrees F)
  • Decomposes at 324 degrees C (615.2 degrees F)
  • Autoignition temperature: 611 degrees C (1132 degrees F)
  • Density: 1.528 g/cm3 and 1.45 g/cm3 (trihydrate)
  • Basicity: 9.25
  • Structure: Crystalline, monoclinic
  • Solubility: soluble in ethanol (5.3 g/100 mL) (trihydrate). It dissolves quickly in water and ethanol.
  • Solubility in water: 36.2 g/100 ml (0 degrees C); 46.4 g/100 mL (20 degrees C), 139 g/100 mL (60 degrees C), 170.15 g/100 mL (100 degrees C).
  • Industrial manufacturing: Glacial acetic acid and sodium hydroxide are used: CH3COOH + NaOH → CH3COONa + H2O
Sodium acetate can cause irritation to the respiratory tract. Excessive inhalation of sodium acetate can lead to coughing, sore throat, breathing difficulty and chest pain. Skin or eye contact can result in reddening of the skin or the eye, irritation and pain.

Sodium Acetate Chemical Properties and Uses

When sodium acetate is mixed with acetic acid (vinegar), sodium diacetate is produced. Sodium diacetate helps enhance the flavor of food, and it also acts as a food preservative. It helps inhibit the growth of certain harmful bacteria. It is added to various types of ketchup and chips. It helps cancel the strong odor of vinegar and offers good flavor to the food. It helps maintain the desired pH in certain food products. It is also required for purification of glucose. Medicinal uses of sodium acetate are also very important. It is a form of the element sodium, and intravenous administration of sodium acetate helps manage low blood sodium levels. It is also used in renal dialysis in certain other forms. These days, sodium acetate is used for waste-water treatment, in place of methanol.

The compound sodium acetate exhibits some unique properties. It maintains a constant pH in a solution, and hence is used as a buffer in the biochemical processes (where the pH of the solution determines the chemical reactions). It is used as a buffer in petroleum production and drilling muds. It also acts as a buffer in electroplating. In the textile industry, it is used to neutralize sulfuric acid. It is a light-sensitive compound (photo-resist) and it is used in textile and leather industries, when aniline dyes are used in the manufacturing processes. The use of sodium acetate in textile industries helps manufacture long-lasting fabrics. It is used as a mordant in dyeing actions. It promotes more even and quick penetration of the tan in the leather industry. It is required during production of rubber as well. It works as a retardant in the elastomer industry. Sodium acetate is present in various soaps and cosmetics because of its ability to neutralize the components in the product. It is required in the manufacturing processes of organic compounds like dyes, pigments, cinnamic acid, and a number of pharmaceuticals.

Sodium acetate injection is used to treat electrolyte (sodium) imbalance. Sodium acetate trihydrate works as a diuretic. Sodium acetate is also used to enhance the flavor of meat and poultry. It is used in reusable heating pads as it releases heat when it crystallizes. Thus, sodium acetate is utilized in various ways, in various industries, because it exhibits useful characteristic properties and is easily available.