• Sodium Nitrate is a chemical compound with chemical formula NaNO3. It has the common name of Chile saltpeter or Peru saltpeter, because of its large deposit founded in each country. The mineral form of this chemical is called nitratine, nitratite or soda niter.
  • Sodium nitrate has a transparent white color, but it can change to yellow, gray or brown when it came in contact with impurities. It is highly soluble in water and its solubility is high in ammonia. Sodium Nitrate melts in 308°C and at higher temperatures it will decompose into NaNO2 and O2.
  • It occurs naturally in Chile and Peru, where nitrate salts are found in mineral deposits called caliche ore. Since 1940, a conversion process that’s founded by Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch created synthetic Chilean saltpetre, which was used as the natural matter in the production of gunpowder and other ammunitions and resulted in dramatic decline in demand of sodium nitrate from natural sources.
  • Some of sodium nitrate applications are as nitrogen fertilizer, an ingredient in firework, gunpowder, substitute for potassium nitrate in black powder propellant, and also as raw material to make synthetic resin if it is reacted with iron hydroxide. It is also used as a food stabilizer and additive to preserve fish , meats, hot dogs, smoked fish and luncheon meats. In fireworks manufacture, it is used to replace potassium nitrate. And now, more recently, sodium nitrate is also utilized for heat storage and heat transfer in solar power plant applications.
Sodium nitrate can be made by 2 processes, naturally by the crude nitrate “caliche” or by synthetic production using chemical.

A. Naturally with Crude Nitrate Caliches, the crude nitrate, have a color of yellow-white to gray or brown and usually contain 20 – 55 % NaNO3. Its 5 feet thick and it appears in the forms like beds. It’s flat around the surface and sometimes protected by a group of rock debris, stuck together with gypsum and salt. The caliche is destroyed and boiled with water using a tank that’s heated by steam coils when the liquor reaches a certain density, it will crystallize. The mother-liquor keeps the iodide, chloride, and iodate of magnesium and sodium together with 20% of nitrate. The crystal of sodium nitrate is then tied up and dried using the sun.

B. By Chemical Reaction with NaHCO3 Method To get NaNO3 with this method, NH4NO3 is distilled and filtered along with NH4NO3 solution. The solution is boiled so NH4HCO3 decomposes completely out of the solution. For crystallization of NaNO3 to take place, the solution is allowed to evaporate.
C. By Chemical Reaction with NaOH Method To produce NaNO3 with this method, NH4NO3 is placed in a large beaker and NaOH is added to the top without stirring. Distilled water is added carefully and then allowed to proceed until it starts to settle down in intensity. After the reaction has started settling down, the solution is then stirred so that the chemicals are thoroughly mixed. For crystallization of NaNO3 to take place, the solution is allowed to evaporate.

A. Fertilizers Sodium nitrate was one of the first commercially available inorganic nitrogen (N) fertilizers. It was very important in plant nutrition before the discovery of ammonia synthesis by the Haber-Bosch process in the early 19th Century. Sodium nitrate is a rich source of nitrogen since it is highly soluble. Nitrogen is necessary for the growing process of plants. Nitrogen in excess amount can affect the yield of flowers and fruits, and if it’s too little it can cause pygmy growth in plants. The nitrogen from sodium nitrate fertilizers is available to plant roots.

B. Food Industry Sodium nitrate is used in prepared meats, such as bologna, hot dogs, ham, salami and other deli meats as preservatives. Because of sodium nitrate, the bacteria won’t grow, so it will preserve the meat color as red or pink. Sodium nitrate is also utilized in the curing process of country ham because of the long aging time required.

C. Explosives & Firework In rocket propellant production, sodium nitrate is applied as a material. It is used as a substitute of potassium nitrate in black powder propellant, although its performance is less that potassium nitrate. In explosive industries, sodium nitrate has some benefits. It is non-poisonous, nontoxic, inexpensive and stable, but has a slow burn rate. It is also used in the manufacture of fireworks as one of its important ingredients. The synthesis of sodium nitrate, barium chloride, and calcium chloride results in the magnificent colors of fireworks. As the reaction takes place, the atoms of sodium nitrate and the other two burning metal salts generate different colors. These colors reflect the amount of energy released during the reaction.

D. Glass Sodium nitrates are also used in the process of producing chemically strengthened glass. Sodium ions will escalate the strength of the product. Chemically strengthened glass is utilized to increase temperature stability, give resistant to scratching and increase bending and impact strength. And because of this function, it is applied as the aircraft canopy of some fighter aircraft and other applications where glass requires optical clarity and toughness. Sodium nitrate is also applied in the production of high quality glasses for clarifying molten glass.

E. Pharmaceuticals Sodium nitrate is used as an ingredient in the production of eye drops, mainly as preservative. But rather than as an ingredient in medicine, sodium nitrate is generally applied as a control compound. In 2005 an experiment found that low concentrations of nitrite give protection against heart attacks. They compared the effects of nitrite versus the control treatments of nitrate. The result is that even if nitrate has similar structure compared to nitrite, nitrate cannot change to nitric oxide in the blood and therefore nitrate does not have the blood vessel dilating properties that nitrite does. The final conclusion is that sodium nitrate had no curing effect on heart attacks.
Other Applications Sodium nitrate can be combined with iron hydroxide to make synthetic resin. Besides that, Sodium nitrate is also applied in the manufacturing of nitric acid by reacting it with sulfuric acid. Sodium nitrate is used together with potassium nitrate and calcium nitrate for heat storage and, more recently, for heat transfer in solar power plants. It is also used in the wastewater industry for facultative microorganism respiration. Nitrosomonas, a genus of microorganisms, consumes nitrate in preference to oxygen, enabling it to grow more rapidly in the wastewater to be treated. Sodium nitrate is also sometimes used by marine aquarists who utilize carbon dosing techniques. It is used to increase nitrate levels in the water and promote bacterial growth and it is commonly added to charcoal briquettes to make them easier to light.

Product Identification:

Chemical formula : NaNO3
Synonym : Chile saltpeter
Origin : China
H.S. Code : 2834.29.00
CAS No. : 7631-99-4
Molecular Weight : 84.99 g/mol-1




Appearance White Crystals Powder
NaNo3(On Dry Base) % 99 (min)
Chloride as CL % 90.2 (max)
Alkalinity (as Na2CO3) % 0.1 (max)
Sulphate (as SO4) +0.08 (max)
Sulphate (as SO4) % 0.08 (max)
Insoluble in matter % 0.03 (max)
Moisture % 1.5 (max)
Iron(Fe) ppm 0.005 (max)
Download Specification Download MSDS