A white solid, NaNO3, soluble in water and in ethanol; trigonal; r.d. 2.261; m.p. 306°C; decomposes at 380°C. A rhombohedral form is also known. It is obtained from deposits of caliche or may be prepared by the reaction of nitric acid with sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate. It was previously used for the manufacture of nitric acid by heating with concentrated sulphuric acid. Its main use is in nitrate fertilizers.