Sodium sulfate is an important compound of sodium which is naturally present as a salt of sulphuric acid. It is also obtained through industrial processes as a by-product for instance, during commercial hydrochloric acid production process. It is a neutral salt which is stable at room temperature and less reactive with oxidizing and reducing agents. Sodium sulfate has a white crystalline physical appearance with no odor and a bitter saline taste. It has a very good solubility with water. Sodium sulfate has been commercially traded in three forms; salt cake, Glauber’s salt (Hydrous form), and niter cake in international market. It is globally recognized as non-toxic and thus finds application in several end-user industries.
Sodium sulfate is widely used as a diluting agent and fillers in soaps and detergent industry. Detergent and soaps is the largest application segment of the sodium sulfate market. However, the demand has begun to decline due to the trend towards concentrated liquid detergents instead of bulkier powder formulations. Additionally, it is largely used as a chemical compound in the bleaching process of kraft pulp.
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Sodium sulfate causes reduction of sodium sulfate into sulfide which helps to break bonds in the cellulose of the wood, making it malleable and able to be extruded. Sodium sulfate is also used as a dyeing agent in textile industry. It has a non- corrosive property due to which it largely substitutes sodium chloride in dyeing application. Sodium sulfate is extensively used for dyeing textile in Japan and the U.S. European glass makers uses significant amount of sodium sulfate as a fluxing agent and in glass refining. It helps to remove small air bubbles and imperfections during blowing and casting processes. Sodium sulfate is used as an inert drying compound to remove water from organic minerals.
Demand for sodium sulfate has witness a steady growth in past decades and it is projected to grow with a substantial growth rate in the near future. Rising demand for glass from the growing construction and automotive industry is surging need for sodium sulfate. Additionally, recovery in the growth of paper and pulp industry due to rising demand for high quality papers is expected to boost demand for sodium sulfate. Sodium sulfate is largely substituted by various compounds such as zeolites, sodium silicates, emulsified sulphur and caustic soda, and sodium carbonate (soda ash) in various end-user industries. Thus, demand for sodium sulfate is largely hindered by substitutes. However, being a commodity compound, demand for it is expected to witness a stable growth rate in the coming future. Though the utility in several manufacture process has been phasing out, newer applications in the coming years is anticipated to continue boost demand for sodium sulfate. Sodium sulfate has unique capability to store heat and thus it is gaining significant attention in the battery making application.
Sodium sulfate is recognized as a permitted carrier and carrier solvent under the European Union and hence it is safe for use in several industrial processes. The sodium sulfate market is largely governed by developed regions such as the U.S., Japan however; it is expanding at a greater pace in emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil, and Argentina. Sodium sulfate is largely used for synthesis of detergents and vinylon in these regions. Furthermore, eventual demand for this compound from Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa holds considerable potential for growth of sodium sulfate market in the foreseeable future.
The sodium sulfate market has several players which manufactures different grade type pf sodium sulfate for several end user applications. Some of them include Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, Allan Chemical Corporation, Sichuan Xinxing Chemical Co., Ltd., Remi-Chem (India) Pvt. Ltd., Borden & Remington Corporation, S.A. SULQUISA, and Intersac.
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