Sodium Chloride is heavily used, so even relatively minor applications can consume massive quantities. In oil and gas exploration, salt is an important component of drilling fluids in well drilling. It is used to flocculate and increase the density of the drilling fluid to overcome high downwell gas pressures. Whenever a drill hits a salt formation, salt is added to the drilling fluid to saturate the solution in order to minimize the dissolution within the salt stratum.Salt is also used to increase the curing of concrete in cemented casings.
In textiles and dyeing, salt is used as a brine rinse to separate organic contaminants, to promote "salting out" of dyestuff precipitates, and to blend with concentrated dyes to standardize[clarification needed] them. One of its main roles is to provide the positive ion charge to promote the absorption of negatively charged ions of dyes.
It is also used in processing aluminium, beryllium, copper, steel and vanadium. In the pulp and paper industry, salt is used to bleach wood pulp. It also is used to make sodium chlorate, which is added along with sulfuric acid and water to manufacture chlorine dioxide, an excellent oxygen-based bleaching chemical. The chlorine dioxide process, which originated in Germany after World War I, is becoming more popular because of environmental pressures to reduce or eliminate chlorinated bleaching compounds. In tanning and leather treatment, salt is added to animal hides to inhibit microbial activity on the underside of the hides and to attract moisture back into the hides.
In rubber manufacture, salt is used to make buna, neoprene and white rubber types. Salt brine and sulfuric acid are used to coagulate an emulsified latex made from chlorinated butadiene.
Salt also is added to secure the soil and to provide firmness to the foundation on which highways are built. The salt acts to minimize the effects of shifting caused in the subsurface by changes in humidity and traffic load.
Sodium chloride is sometimes used as a cheap and safe desiccant because of its hygroscopic properties, making salting an effective method of food preservation historically; the salt draws water out of bacteria through osmotic pressure, keeping it from reproducing, a major source of food spoilage. Even though more effective desiccants are available, few are safe for humans to ingest.
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