Sodium gluconate is the sodium salt of gluconic acid, produced by fermentation of glucose. It is a white to tan, granular to fine, crystalline powder, very soluble in water. Non corrosive, non-toxic and readily biodegradable (98 % after 2 days); chelating agent commonly used in household cleaning products. It is often found in bar soap, sunscreen, shampoo, toothpaste, hair products, makeup and a variety of other products as well. We use it in our dishwasher detergent.
Uses of Sodium Gluconate:
Sodium gluconate in the cleaning industry
Sodium gluconate is commonly found in many household and industrial cleaners. This is because on its multi functionality. It acts as a chelating agent, a sequestering agent, a builder and a redisposition agent. In alkaline cleaners like dishwasher detergents and degreasers it prevents hard water ions (magnesium and calcium) interfering with the alkalis and allows the cleaner to perform to its maximum ability.
Sodium gluconate helps as a soil remover for laundry detergents as it breaks the calcium bond holding the dirt to the fabric and further prevents the soil redepositing onto the fabric again. Sodium gluconate helps to protect metals like stainless steel when strong caustic based cleaners are used. It helps to break down scale, milk stone and beer stone. As a result it finds application in many acid based cleaners especially those formulated for use in the food industry.
Industrial Applications of sodium gluconate:
Sodium gluconate is used in electroplating and metal finishing because of its strong affinity for metal ions. Acting as a sequestrate it stabilises the solution preventing impurities from triggering undesirable reactions in the bath. The chelation properties of gluconate assist in the deterioration of the anode thus increasing plating bath efficiency. Gluconate can be used in copper, zinc and cadmium plating baths for brightening and increasing luster.
Sodium gluconate is used in agrochemicals and in particular fertilisers. It helps plants and crops to absorb necessary minerals from the soil.
It is used in the paper and pulp industries where it chelates out metallic ions which cause problems in the peroxide and hydrosulphite bleaching processes.
Sodium gluconate in Construction Industry:
Sodium gluconate is used as a concrete admix. It offers several benefits including improved workability, retarding setting times, reducing water, improved freeze-thawing resistance, reduced bleeding, cracking and dry shrinkage. When added at a level of 0.3% sodium gluconate can retard setting time of cement to over 16 hours depending on ratio of water and cement, temperature etc. As it acts as a corrosion inhibitor it helps to protect iron bars used in concrete from corrosion.
Sodium gluconate as a corrosion inhibitor:
When sodium gluconate is present in water above 200ppm it protects steel and copper from corrosion. Water pipes and tanks composed of these metals are prone to corrosion and pitting caused by dissolved oxygen in the circulation water. This leads to cavitation and degradation of the equipment. The sodium gluconate reacts with the metal producing a protective film of the gluconate salt of the metal eliminating the possibility of the dissolved oxygen to come into direct contact with the metal. In addition, sodium gluconate is added to de-icing compounds like salt and calcium chloride which are corrosive. This helps protect metal surfaces from being attacked by the salts but not deterring from the salt’s ability to dissolve ice and snow.
Sodium gluconate in cosmetics & Personal Care products:
Sodium gluconate is used as a chelating agent to form complexes with metal ions which can influence the stability and appearance of cosmetic products. Gluconates are added to cleansers and shampoos to increase the lather by sequestering hard water ions. Gluconates are also used in oral and dental care products such as toothpaste where it is used to sequester calcium and helps to prevent gingivitis.
Other industrial applications of importance include bottle washing, photo chemicals, textile auxiliaries, plastics and polymers, inks, paints and dyes and Water treatment.
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