What is caustic soda?

The alkali part of ‘chlor-alkali’ often refers to caustic soda (usually sodium hydroxide but potassium hydroxide can also be formed).

It is the natural co-product of chlorine production; indeed, the laws of chemistry define that for every tonne of chlorine you produce, about 1.1 tonnes of caustic soda is also produced, together with 28 kg of hydrogen.

Caustic soda is also known as ‘lye’ and it is a white, solid ionic compound consisting of sodium (Na+) and hydroxide ions (OH). Due to its ionic nature, much like sodium chloride (common salt), it readily dissolves in water.

Soda lye microcrystals