Sodium Chlorate

What is Sodium Chlorate

The compound Sodium chlorate is an inorganic material with the standard equation NaClO3. Its physical properties include being white in color and having a crystalline nature that promptly dissolves in water. It has been known to be hygroscopic (absorbing moisture from the air) in nature. It decays over 573 Kelvin to discharge O2 and leave behind NaCl. Quite a lot of Sodium chlorate is created every year, mostly for various uses in the oxidizing mash to deliver a high-quality paper. 


Physical properties of Sodium Chlorate

The physical properties of sodium chlorate are quite similar to other inorganic salts. Some of them are listed below-

  • It is an odourless compound. 

  • Its color differs from light yellow to white crystalline solid. 

  • It is very soluble in water and heavier than water. Hence, it can sink and break up at a fast rate. 

  • While it is not an explosive by itself, yet it can cause powerful combustion on coming in contact with water. It causes a highly exothermic reaction. Even if 30% of molecules are in the water, they can cause a powerful oxidizing reaction due to their inherent properties.  

  • Its density is 2.49 g/cm. 

  • Sodium chlorate’s boiling point is 300 degrees C and the melting point is 248 degrees C. 

  • It is also soluble in some organic solvents like glycerol and methanol. It is also slightly soluble in acetone. 

  • It has a cubic crystal structure. 

Property Name Value           



Molecular Weight



106.44 g/mol



Hydrogen Bond Donor Count


Hydrogen Bond Acceptor Count




Rotatable Bond Count




Exact Mass

105.943366 g/mol

Monoisotopic Mass

105.943366 g/mol

Topological Polar Surface Area


Heavy Atom Count


Chemical Properties of Sodium Chlorate

The chemical properties of sodium chlorate are very unique. Some of them are stated below-

  • It is a powerful oxidizing agent. The hypochlorite ion helps to oxidize and bleach any chemical. 

  • It has a heat capacity of 104.6 Jmol/K.

  • Its reaction with potassium bromide and hydrochloric acid gives products as potassium chloride, sodium chloride, bromine, and water.

       NaClO3 + 6KBr + 6HCl → 6KCl + NaCl + 3H2O + 3Br2

  • Its chemical reaction with potassium iodide and hydrochloric acid produces products as sodium chloride, potassium chloride, iodine, and water.

NaClO3 + 6KI + 6HCl → NaCl + 3I2 + 3H2O + 6KCl

  • It can react with many different chemical compounds such as other bromides and acids. When it is brought in close contact with wood, or any other similar material like sulphuric acid, different metals, and different synthetics, then it may cause flames or explosion. 

  • Due to its explosive property caused by high oxidizing nature, it is kept separately and used in a controlled environment. 

Preparation of Sodium Chlorate

Sodium chlorate is produced by the electrolysis of simple salty water (sodium chloride and water)

Sodium chlorate formula:  NaCl + 3H2O + 6 e-→ NaClO3 + 3H2.  

This process is exothermic in nature. It occurs in a number of steps. Also, the procedure is subject to pH and temperature alterations. 

The preparation of sodium chlorate is quite simple, Chlorine gas (Cl2) is stored at the anode while hydrogen gas (H2) is stored at the cathode. Chlorine is then hydrolyzed in the cell to a hypochlorite anion group which at that point produces sodium chlorate. 

Sodium chlorate particles are formed in the shape of crystals. The solution obtained after hydrolysis is often called cell liquor. The solution is then removed from the apparatus. The crystals obtained are washed and dried up and then stored in a dry area. Depending upon the use, it may be sold in crystals or sold as a liquid. 

Sodium chlorate structure is given as follows:- 

Sodium Chlorate Uses

Sodium chlorate is used for many purposes. Some common uses are given below-

  • It is utilized for making herbicides, explosives, colors, matches, inks, beautifiers, pharmaceuticals, defoliants, paper, and calfskin. 

  • It is used as a dying mash in the creation of the paper. 

  • Used in the Solvay process which uses up the salt along with H2SO4, and the presence of CH3OH as the lessening specialist. 

  • It is used as an oxidizing specialist in the large scale dye-making processes and an oxidizing and bleaching operator. 

  • It is used in the medical field for preparing different drugs.

  • It is used in making fertilizers and explosives. 

Solved Examples

  1. What happens when solid sodium chlorate is heated? Write a balanced chemical equation for this reaction.

On heating, Sodium chlorate decomposes into sodium chloride (solid) and oxygen (gas). The chemical equation for this reaction is:

2NaClO3+heat 2NaCl + 3O

  1. What harmful effects can Sodium Chlorate have on the human body?

Exposure to sodium chlorate for a long time may have harmful effects on the human body. It can cause redness of the eyes and skin, sore throat, and abdominal pain. It can also cause blue lips or skin and medical conditions such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and unconsciousness.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is sodium chlorate an acid or base?

Sodium chlorate has certain unique properties that come as an exception to the rule. It's an extremely solid corrosive and powerful oxidizing agent and has a pKa of around - 1 (The pKa of acidic corrosive is more like 5 and water is 16. Since we realize that HClO3 is an extremely corrosive and powerful ion, we can recognize - ClO3 as its subsequent conjugate base and can reason that it is likely a powerless conjugate base at that.  Despite its strong ions present, it is neutralized by the opposing ionic charges and hence forms a weak base.

2. For what reason is sodium chlorate considered a decent oxidizing agent?

Sodium chlorate is to a great extent utilized by the mash and paper industry to create chlorine dioxide, which is utilized to fade wood mash for the assembling of a higher caliber and ecologically safer white paper items. Mash plants convert sodium chlorate into chlorine dioxide –which is an extremely powerful oxidizing agent.