MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bottle and pellets of sodium hydroxide. A reagent bottle of sodium hydroxide (NaOH, caustic soda) solution and a watch glass containing sodium hydroxide pellets. Laboratory chemicals are commonly stored in glass reagent bottles such as the one shown. Sodium hydroxide is the most used base (alkali) in chemical laboratories. It is used to drive chemical reactions and also for the neutralisation of acidic materials. Sodium hydroxide is highly corrosive and is commonly used to unblock drains - the highly alkaline nature of its solution converts grease to soap and can break down the protein that composes hair. Sodium hydroxide was also traditionally used in soap making and is used in paper production among other applications.
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