trisodium phosphate(V)

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A colourless crystalline compound, Na3PO4, soluble in water and insoluble in ethanol. It is known both as the decahydrate (octagonal; r.d. 2.54) and the dodecahydrate (trigonal; r.d. 1.62) The dodecahydrate loses water at about 76°C and the decahydrate melts at 100°C. Trisodium phosphate may be prepared by boiling sodium carbonate with the stoichiometric amount of phosphoric acid and subsequently adding sodium hydroxide to the disodium salt thus formed. It is useful as an additive for high-pressure boiler feed water (for removal of calcium and magnesium as phosphates), in emulsifiers, as a water-softening agent, and as a component in detergents and cleaning agents. Sodium phosphate labelled with the radioactive isotope 32P is used in the study of the role of phosphate in biological processes and is also used (intravenously) in the treatment of polycythaemia.

Subjects: Chemistry.

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