This substance is a white or gray solid that comes in a circular bead form. This version of sodium hydroxide is desirable because of its uniform shape. The material is hygroscopic so it will absorb water from the air, which gives it a sheen and can add to its mass if exposed for long periods. It is odorless and has a soft, sponge-like texture. However, it is highly caustic and toxic so do not handle without proper safety equipment. Sodium hydroxide can also absorb carbon from the air, turning into sodium carbonate, so it’s imperative that the beads stay in an airtight container. It is soluble in water, alcohol or glycerol and will not mix with ether or acetone. This substance goes by a variety of different names including lye or caustic soda. In all of its forms, it is highly useful as a means of making paper, soaps, detergents, cleaners, and textiles. Beads are ideal for soap production as they are highly stable and provide a strong base for bars of soap. The chemical is caustic when reacting to tissue and fat, making it an excellent choice for paint stripping or drain cleaning. It can also be used to dissolve dead animals in certain cases. This substance is highly dangerous and must be treated with extra caution. Do not handle sodium hydroxide without gloves and eye protection as it can dissolve your skin and cause severe eye damage. Disposal must be according to all hazardous waste regulations so as to avoid any significant environmental impact.
Personal Care and Cosmetics