Chemical substances are the essential components in almost all our activities. Right from the toothpaste that we use in the morning to the mosquito repellent at night, are all products of the chemical industry. The chemists process the raw materials to a usable form and strengthen them to increase the durability. The chemical substances are taken in as input ingredients to many industries.
The food industry needs preservatives, flavors, and essences. Polymers and plastics are used in making electrical components, electronic goods, furniture, kitchen utensils, automobile parts, and so on. Chemicals are also helpful for research in biotechnology and genetic engineering. The modern pharmaceutical industry relies entirely on the chemical industry. Thus, the chemical industry is vital for the economy of the nation.
Ever-evolving chemical industry:
The chemical manufacturers have existed since the industrial revolution. Their very first products were sulfuric acid, soda ash and sodium chloride (the common salt). Large scale production of the common salt was perhaps one of the tasks that led to the development of the chemical industry. Today the chemical manufacturers are significantly involved in the production of fertilizers, vitamins, medicines, petrochemicals, polymers, and plastics.
They also manufacture consumer goods like soaps, detergents, and cosmetics. Whether a small scale manufacturer or industry behemoth, there is demand for products all the time. Good quality and safe end products are an absolute must to survive and shine in this ever-evolving industry.
The chemical industry has a wide array of applications. But it faces many obstacles too. The public is very much wary of toxic chemicals, and the industry undergoes a lot of scrutinies all the time. The competition is high, and high-level research must be done to come up with an innovative product. Raw materials required are scarce and costly.
Pollution due to effluents and environmental hazard due to long term storage could pose a severe threat to natural resources on earth. Safety and expensive methods of manufacturing are reasons for high expenditure in the industry. The workers’ safety is a prime issue, and the manufactures often face challenges from human rights department. Despite all the hindrances, the industry continues to branch out with a good growth rate.
Sodium compounds are vital to our life. They are essential for healthy bones and have many other biological uses such as relay of neural signals. The role of common salt: sodium chloride is well known. It is not only a taste enhancer but an age-old preservative used in pickling. It prevents food from spoiling. Salt is one prime factor for the origin of life on our planet.
Civilizations existed wherever water and salt were available in plenty. The baking soda and washing soda are among the first chemical substances to be used by mankind. Today Sodium compounds are used in large scale in petroleum and textile industries.
Sodium hydride is a strong base and is a combination of sodium and hydrogen. It is highly reactive and is immersed in mineral oil to retain its pure form. It also ignites readily in air and reacts with moisture to form hydrogen gas. It is also available as a granular material. It is used as a reducing agent, deprotonating agent and drying agent.
As a reducing agent, it can be used for maintaining the stability of the ingredient substances, ensuring normal activity of proteins in biochemical applications. It is also used in stain removal processes. This reducing property can also be utilized for the production of new compounds too.
Deprotonation is the removal of a proton. It has applications in mass spectrometry and organic reactions. Drying agents remove water content from the solutions and substances. They are required for the preservation of food and organic solvents. Water content in coffee, tea, pulses, and cereals attracts mold and bacteria.
This results in wastage of edible products. The drying agents are also needed in maintaining the purity of organic solvents. Sodium hydride can produce hydrogen gas and could be used in fuel cells in the future. This is the main application for which it is highly researched. If successful, then it could solve the problem of the energy sector. Sodium amides and sodium ethoxides are other popular sodium related industrial products.