Product Code : AZ662
Brand Name : AZ
CAS number [7631-99-4]
Sodium nitrate is the chemical compound with the formula NaNO3. This salt, also known as "Chile saltpeter" or "Peru saltpeter" (to distinguish it from ordinary saltpeter, potassium nitrate), is a white solid which is very soluble in water. The mineral form is also known as nitratine or soda niter.
Sodium nitrate is used as an ingredient in fertilizers, pyrotechnics, as a food preservative, and as a solid rocket propellant, as well as in glass and pottery enamels; the compound has been mined extensively for those purposes.
The mining of South American saltpeter was such a profitable business that Chile fought against the allies Peru and Bolivia and took over the richest deposits in the War of the Pacific. The world's largest natural deposits of caliche ore were in the Atacama desert of Chile, and many deposits were mined for over a century, until the 1940s, when its value declined dramatically in the first decades of the twentieth century (see Haber process).
Chile still has the largest reserves of caliche, with active mines in such locations as Pedro de Valdivia, Maria Elena and Pampa Blanca, and there it used to be called "white gold". Sodium nitrate, potassium nitrate, sodium sulfate and iodine are all obtained by the processing of caliche. The former Chilean saltpeter mining communities of Humberstone and Santa Laura were declared Unesco World Heritage sites in 2005.
Sodium nitrate is also synthesized industrially by neutralizing nitric acid with soda ash.