Sodium chlorate is an industrial salt produced from water and common table salt in a reaction with electricity.
Sodium chlorate is produced from two commonly found raw materials: salt (NaCl, sodium chloride) and water (H2O) along with the use of large amounts of electrical energy. The manufacturing process involves the electrolysis of an acidified sodium chloride solution in a specially designed electrochemical cell.
First, raw brine is treated to remove impurities such as calcium and magnesium. Next, hydrochloric acid (HCl) is added to control the pH and improve efficiency. Sodium dichromate is used as a catalyst, to inhibit electrochemical side reactions and as a pH buffer.
Chlorine gas (Cl2) forms at the anode while hydrogen gas (H2) forms at the cathode. Chlorine is then hydrolyzed in the cell to a hypochlorite species which then react to form sodium chlorate.
The solution that leaves the electrochemical cell is called cell liquor. This solution contains a high concentration of chlorate ions and other intermediate reaction products. The solution is treated to remove byproducts such as hypochlorite. Sodium chlorate crystals are then removed and the remaining liquor containing salt, chloride ions and dichromate are returned to the electrochemical cells. The crystals are washed and dried to form the final product. For some customers, the crystals are dissolved in water and shipped as a liquid solution.
Sodium chlorate is largely used by the pulp & paper industry to produce chlorine dioxide, which is used to bleach wood pulp for the manufacture of higher quality and environmentally friendly white paper products. Pulp mills convert sodium chlorate into chlorine dioxide – an environmentally friendly bleaching agent. The process of using chlorine dioxide to bleach pulp is referred to as “ECF” bleaching meaning “elemental chlorine free”.
Our sodium chlorate is available in two forms: dry white crystal that looks like table salt and clear solution.