Sulfates are the salts and esters of sulfuric acid. Most sulfates are soluble in water. Exceptions are the poorly or poorly soluble sulfates of alkaline earth metals, e.g. calcium, strontium, barium and lead(II) sulfate.
Industrially important sulfates include sodium, potassium, aluminum and magnesium sulfate.
Sodium sulfate is used in many ways in industry and technology. It is used as a filler in detergents and as a reagent in pulp production using the sulphate process.
In food technology, it serves as a firming agent, acidity regulator and carrier substance. Sodium sulphate and sodium hydrogen sulphate are generally approved in the EU as food additive number E 514 without a maximum limit (quantum satis) for food.
In addition, sodium sulfate is also used in the glass, textile and paint industries.
In the glass industry, sodium sulphate is the most important sulphur-containing compound in glass production and is used in the production process as a fining agent and additive for the manufacture of soda-lime glass.
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