Sodium chloride (NaCl)

Sodium chloride (NaCl)

Common salt (or table salt) is one of the most important sodium compounds, indispensable for living organisms.



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Sodium chloride, table salt NaCl


Molar mass: 58.44 g/mol

Melting point: 801 °C

Boiling point: 1,413 °C

Density: 2.165 g/cm³

Hardness: 2 (on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness)


Sodium chloride, commonly known as table salt, is a white, odourless, crystalline material. It is an ionic compound; its ions form a face-centred cubic lattice. It dissolves well in water; the solution has a neutral pH.

Biologically important sodium and chloride ions are consumed as NaCl. It plays an important role in maintaining osmotic pressure in the body, but excessive consumption may cause high blood pressure. In medicine, a solution of 0.90% w/v of NaCl, called saline solution, is used in intravenous drips.

Occurrence and production

It is the third most common compound of sodium. It occurs in large quantities in seawater, brine wells and enclosed, dried-out coastal areas. It can be obtained through mining or evaporation.


Sodium chloride is used as table salt and as a preservative, as well as in the production of sodium compounds.



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Dissolution of NaCl

Common salt is dissolved by water: polar water molecules form a coat around the ions.

Chlorine (Cl₂)

A yellow-green toxic gas with a strong odour, one of the halogens.

Face-centred cubic metal lattice

The face-centred cubic metal lattice allows the closest fit of metal atoms.

Seawater desalination

The desalination process produces drinking water from seawater.

Beryllium dichloride (BeCl₂)

Used in the production of beryllium and as a catalyst.

Silver bromide (AgBr)

A white, crystalline compound which breaks down when exposed to light.

Silver chloride (AgCl)

A white, crystalline compound that breaks down when affected by light.

Silver iodide (AgI)

A light yellow compound formed in the reaction of silver nitrate and potassium iodide.

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