Mixed solvent reactive recrystallization of trona (sodium sesqui-carbonate) into soda (sodium carbonate anhydrate)

Robert S. Gärtner*, Geert Jan Witkamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A new conversion process for the production of soda (Na2CO3(s)) from trona (Na2CO3·NaHCO3·2H 2O(s)) and other sodium bicarbonate containing sodium carbonate sources is presented. By using a mixed solvent consisting of ethylene glycol and water, the boiling point of the solution was increased and the stability of trona could be decreased to such a degree, that it spontaneously recrystallized to anhydrous soda (Na2CO3(s)) and wegscheiderite (Na2CO3·3NaHCO3(s)). Additionally, the sodium bicarbonate content could be completely decomposed thermally in the mixed solvent into sodium carbonate, which crystallized as stable, pure anhydrous soda. Fundamental mechanisms of this process are discussed: The stability of trona as a function of mixed solvent composition, water activity and temperature is reported. The dissolution rate, the bicarbonate decomposition rate as well as the (pseudo) solid phase conversion rate of trona were investigated as functions of mixed solvent composition and temperature. It was found that beyond a certain temperature, depending on the mixed solvent composition, the trona would convert via the (pseudo) solid state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-91
Number of pages17
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethylene glycol
  • Mixed solvent
  • Reactive crystallization
  • Soda
  • Trona processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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