Sodium Hydroxide

Definition - What does Sodium Hydroxide mean?

Sodium Hydroxide, commonly known as caustic soda, is an inorganic compound that is used in the process of manufacturing drain cleaners, pulp, textiles, soaps and detergents. It is highly corrosive in nature and has the chemical formula NaOH. It is manufactured in white solid granules which are soluble in water and alcohols such as methanol and ethanol. Sodium hydroxide is mixed with drilling mud so that the alkalinity and pH levels of the mud can be maintained and increased.

Petropedia explains Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide consists of sodium cations and hydroxide anions which decompose proteins and cause serious harm to industrial fittings and equipment if not handled properly. The compound can also cause health issues to the industrial staff. For instance, if it comes in contact with the eyes it can lead to total blindness. When the skin is exposed to sodium hydroxide it can cause skin irritations and burns.

In terms of its effects in industrial metals, the solution prepared from sodium hydroxide results in corrosion at all concentration levels. With increasing concentration and temperature, it can become even more corrosive. For instance, carbon steel has a beneficial safe limit of around 150°F (65°C) in order to mitigate the damaging effects of caustic stress corrosion cracking (CSCC).

Although stainless steel has higher corrosion resistance than carbon steel, it is also prone to corrosion brought on by sodium hydroxide solutions under approximate temperatures of 250°F (121°C).

As a key rule, a metal's resistance to damage by sodium hydroxide enhances along with elevating nickel content. However, susceptibility to damage depends on numerous variables, including caustic concentration, stress and temperature levels as well as alloy content.

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