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What is Sodium Acetate

Sodium Acetate is a chemical compound, comprising one Sodium (Na) atom, two oxygen (O) atoms, two carbon (C) atoms, and three hydrogens (H) atoms. It is a sodium salt of acetic acid or Sodium acetate anhydrous (i.e., lacking water of hydration) or Sodium Ethanoate. It is easily soluble in water and alcohol and is hygroscopic in nature. It is usually odorless but when heated till decomposition it smells like vinegar or acetic acid. 

Chemical Formula: CH3COONa.


Uses of Sodium acetate

  1. It is generally used in the textile industry.

  2. It is used in hot ice, heating pads, and hand warmers.

  3. It is used as a disinfectant.

  4. It is used as a buffering agent in the cosmetics industry in a variety of personal care products.

  5. It acts as a concrete sealant.

  6. It can be used as a buffer with acetic acid to keep a relatively constant pH at 881.4 °C.

  7. It is used as an additive in food industries, as a preservative that prevents bacteria formation in a wide range of food.


Properties of Sodium Acetate

CH3COONa

Sodium Acetate

Molecular Weight

82.0343 g/mol

Density

1.53 g/cm3

Colour

White Coarse

Melting Point

324 °C

Boiling Point

881.4 °C

Sodium acetate Structure

(Image to be added soon)


Preparation Method

Sodium acetate can be prepared with the help of baking soda and vinegar. (It is advised to wear safety goggles as the splashing can happen and it will cause irritation in the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. If inhaled directly, it can cause inflammation of the lungs and throat.)


Steps

  • Add one spoonful of baking soda to a glass container and slowly add vinegar, being careful not to create too much foam, Keep adding vinegar while stirring the mixture.

  • Once the mixture stops bubbling, you can stop adding vinegar as all of the sodium bicarbonate has been converted to sodium acetate and carbon dioxide.

  • To separate out the sodium acetate from water, boil the solution until you hear a popping sound. At this point, crystals will be formed. When you get this supersaturated sodium acetate solution, cool the solution to room temperature, and a translucent gel will be formed.

  • Scrape the gel into a bowl with a coffee filter, which will absorb the remaining water, Break the pieces and put them on another coffee filter to finish the drying process, creating sodium acetate powder. 


Reactions involved : 

CH3COOH  +  NaHCO3           →         CH3COONa   +   H2CO3

Acetic Acid     Baking Soda                Sodium Acetate   Carbonic Acid


H2CO3                     →        H2O  +  CO2

Carbonic Acid                   Water    Carbon Dioxide


Did You Know?

Sodium acetate is also used as a deicer (the process of removing ice) in parking garages. The compound is preferred over sodium chloride because sodium chloride corrodes steel rods buried in concrete and sodium acetate does not corrode. There are several other uses of sodium acetate.


What Happens When Sodium Acetate Is Heated?

Answer: When Sodium acetate is heated above 58 °C, sodium acetate loses its hydration capacity and starts to dissolve in that steam. The process is exothermic in nature.


Note:

Acidic Buffers: It is a combination of the weak acid and its salt with a strong base (Conjugate base).

eg: HCOOH / HCOONa

       CH3COOH / CH3COONa

       H2CO3  / NaHCO3


Basic Buffers: It is a combination of a weak base and salt with a strong acid (Conjugate acid).

eg: NH3 / NH4Cl

       NH4OH / NH4Cl

Sodium acetate can cause mild irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. If inhaled directly, it can cause inflammation of the lungs and throat.


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is sodium acetate a weak base or a strong base?

Sodium acetate (CH3COONa) is salt in solid-state and can't be regarded as an acid or base in anhydrous or molten form. It is a salt made of a weak acid and a strong base.

CH3COONa  +  H2O  →  CH3COOH + NaOH.

Sodium Acetate Water     Acetic Acid         Sodium Hydroxide

But it undergoes hydrolysis to give a basic solution.

2. Is sodium acetate insoluble in water?

No, sodium acetate is highly soluble in water. The solubility of this compound in water increases with the increase in temperature. Sodium acetate (anhydrous) dissociates in water to form sodium ions (Na+) and acetate ions (CH3COO-).

3. How is sodium acetate prepared?

Industrially Sodium acetate is prepared from glacial acetic acid and sodium hydroxide.

CH3COOH  + NaOH         CH3COONa  +   H2O

Acetic Acid   Sodium Hydroxide Sodium Acetate Water

Sodium acetate can be produced from the reaction between acetic acid and sodium carbonate. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) can be used as an alternative to sodium carbonate in this reaction.

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