Soda ash light is the common name for the technical grade anhydrous sodium carbonate (Na2CO3). In the eighteenth century soda ash light was produced by LeBlanc process based on roasting salt cake with carbon and limestone. The synthetic process for the manufacture of soda ash light by ammonia soda process was developed by Ernest Solvay in 1861. Natural deposits of soda containing sodium carbonate (known as Trona1) mostly occur in America, East Africa, Mexico and China.
About 30% of world soda ash light production (90% of this is in U.S. alone) is from natural deposits and the rest 70% from synthetic process. Soda ash light is a white, finely crystalline, hygroscopic powder. When freshly packed, contains at least 98.5% Na2CO3. It absorbs moisture and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during storage and transit.
Soda ash light is available in four standard forms as light, medium, dense and granular according to the bulk density to suit various industrial requirements. Soda ash light is moderately soluble in water and the solution is strongly alkaline. Although it is low in toxicity, ingestion can be harmful. Product dust may produce irritation of eyes, nose, throat and lungs.