Which compound is salt?

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “Which compound is salt?”, talk about the applications of salt, and share some curiosities about this substance. 

Which compound is salt?

Salt (or table salt) is composed of Sodium chloride. It is a commonly used chemical composed of one chlorine atom for every sodium atom. It has the chemical formula NaCl.

What are the applications of salt?

The most known application of salt, of course, is in the kitchen. Domestically, NaCl is utilized in the salting and preservation of foods (meat and fish). It is critical that the human diet has modest amounts of iodized substances, which are difficult to locate naturally and whose metabolic shortage can induce thyroid disorders, thus iodine is added to table salt. 

NaCl is also contained in the composition of saline, which must be at a concentration of 0.9 percent in order to have an isotonic osmotic pressure on the blood. 

However, other of its applications are less common, such as its usage to remove snow off roadways in the United States and Europe during periods of extreme cold, because its direct addition produces a lowering in the melting point of water, a process known as cryoscopy, and therefore melting of snow.

It is a direct raw material in the synthesis of gaseous chlorine (Cl2), which is used in the treatment of drinking water, sodium hydroxide (NaOH), an essential industrial base, and sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), a bleaching and antibacterial agent. 

Furthermore, it is utilized in the making of paper as well as soaps and detergents. It is also used in the indirect synthesis of hydrochloric acid (HCl), a significant commercial and academic acid, by electrolysis of its aqueous solution.

Curiosities about salt

  • Historically, NaCl, or simply salt, has been related to the derivation of the term salary, which “is derived from the Latin salarium argentum, which means ‘paying in salt.'” 

This is due to the fact that Roman troops were compensated with a highly expensive delicacy that could be swapped for numerous things; that delicacy was salt. Furthermore, at the time, this chemical was a significant and nearly irreplaceable food preservative. 

  • Wild predators receive adequate salt in the wild by killing and consuming herbivore flesh. The latter, on the other hand, must supplement their diet with salt from natural sources such as salt pans and springs. For a long time, when in need of salt, humans followed the path of herbivores.
  • When man first domesticated animals approximately 8000 BC, he required a mineral to feed his herds. From that point on, salt became commercially useful.
  • Salt has historically been connected with permanence and longevity due to its ability to preserve food. As a result, salt is used as a symbol in several Jewish and Christian rituals.
  • Because of its enormous commercial worth, salt has been responsible for more conflicts than gold and silver combined.
  • Chineses were the first to dig for salt. And they discovered that mixing one form of salt, potassium nitrate or sodium nitrate (known as saltpeter), with carbon and sulfur resulted in an explosive combination. As a result, gunpowder was developed.
  • Iodine, a mineral deficit that causes hypothyroidism and goiter, has been added to salt in various nations since 1924. This practice evolved into a government project. 
  • Under the Qin dynasty, salt was crucial in the unification of China. At this period, Chinese emperors secured a governmental monopoly on the mineral (as well as iron), producing enormous earnings that supported the construction of famous constructions, such as the Great Wall.
  • In antiquity, nobility displayed their riches by welcoming guests with pure salt wrapped in elegantly designed salt shakers. As a symbol of welcome, kings who sought to 

forge alliances required to set salt shakers on their guests’ tables.

  • The Egyptians were most likely the first to use salt to preserve meat and fish. Due to seasonal changes in the Nile floods, which impacted agricultural success or failure, the Egyptians developed superior food preservation technologies. Grain storage, salting foods, and fermentation procedures are examples of these.

Conclusion

In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “Which compound is salt?”, talked about the applications of salt, and shared some curiosities about this substance. 

References

“Cloreto de Sódio – Sal de Cozinha – Compostos Químicos – InfoEscola”. Acessado 9 de fevereiro de 2022. https://www.infoescola.com/compostos-quimicos/cloreto-de-sodio/.

“Curiosidades sobre o sal: 11 fatos incríveis”. Acessado 9 de fevereiro de 2022. https://www.danielpanarotto.com.br/blog/curiosidades/curiosidades-sobre-o-sal-11-fatos-incriveis.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.