Manufacturing process: For commercial use, sodium formate is manufactured by absorbing carbon monoxide under pressure in solid sodium hydroxide at 130 °C and 6-8 bar pressure. This process produces a solution containing a molecular ratio of caustic soda to sodium formate above 1 to 1, continuing to react the carbon monoxide with the caustic soda until the molecular ratio of caustic soda to sodium formate in the solution does not substantially exceed 1 to 1.
CO + NaOH → HCO2Na
The low-cost and large-scale availability of formic acid by carbonylation of methanol and hydrolysis of the resulting methyl formate, sodium formate is usually prepared by neutralizing formic acid with sodium hydroxide. Sodium formate is formed as a by-product in the final step of the pentaerythritol synthesis and in the crossed Cannizzaro reaction of formaldehyde with the aldol reaction product trimethyl acetaldehyde In the laboratory scale, sodium formate can be prepared by neutralizing formic acid with sodium carbonate. It can also be obtained by reacting chloroform with an alcoholic solution of sodium hydroxide. CHCl3 + 4 NaOH → HCOONa + 3 NaCl + 2 H2O
or by reacting sodium hydroxide with chloral hydrate.
C2HCl3(OH)2 + NaOH → CHCl3 + HCOONa + H2O
The latter method is, in general, preferred to the former because the low aqueous solubility of CHCl3 makes it easier to separate out from the sodium formate solution, by fractional crystallization, than the soluble NaCl would be.
Sodium Formate Application:
Intermediate Chemicals: Sodium formate chemically reduces other components by donating an electron or electrons. Formic acid and oxalic acid are prepared from sodium formate. Sodium formate is used in the manufacture of sodium hydrosulfite, a common reductive bleaching chemical.
Reductive bleaching agent: Sodium formate is used to improve the brightness and color in dyeing/printing fabrics and paper.
Tanning of leather: Sodium formate stabilize the chromium, resulting in better leather quality. It is used for better penetration and tanning time reducing.
Deicing chemical: Sodium formate is less corrosive and undergoes fast melting action relative to other deicing chemicals.
Buffering agent: sodium formate improves both desulfurization efficiency and increasing lime absorbent utilization. Sodium formate is also used in liquid detergent as a builder or an enzyme stabilizer. It is used in dyeing, in electroplating, in silage preservation