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Sodium Hypochlorite Chemical Production

By Chemical Engineering |

Sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) is the active constituent in chlorine bleach, a strong oxidizer and bleaching agent. Increases in household bleach demand are driven mostly by population growth. In turn, population growth and its corresponding increases in water consumption — coupled with limited fresh water resources — makes water treatment the largest application for bleach, as well as the fastest-growing segment of bleach use. Sodium hypochlorite chemical production is a well-established process in the industry, and the principle behind its operation is also employed for preventing chlorine emissions in chlor-alkali plants. The chemical process relies on the acquisition of chlorine and caustic soda (sodium hydroxide; NaOH) feedstock from external sources, in contrast with the electrochemical process for bleach, which also involves brine electrolysis. The process The chlorination of caustic soda to sodium hypochlorite is an exothermic reaction. The chemical production process depicted below is a widely used process, similar to the one employed by Solvay Chemicals (Brussels, Belgium; www.solvay.com), for example. The process is suited to producing both household bleach (5–6 wt.%) and industrial bleach (10–15 wt.%),…
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