The huge salt reserves of certain desert areas in Chile were, during the early last century, almost inexhaustible supply of sodium nitrate, whose uses and applications in agriculture are today and pyrotechnics two of its main beneficiaries.
Subsequent to that date, the new possibility of producing synthetic ammonia resulted in the sodium nitrate could also be produced synthetically.
Sodium nitrate is used as usual in agriculture, acting as a fertilizer. One advantage is the price, an economic return that may be short on large tracts of land. Another feature is its high solubility and its high nitrogen content.
Furthermore, one of the applications of sodium nitrate occurs in the field of pesticides, although its function is not toxic, but adjunct to combustion of charcoal, one of the substances that are also commonly used in pyrotechnics. In the field of explosives and pyrotechnics, black powder is another traditional compounds, and also includes sodium nitrate.
Other uses sodium nitrate is given in the food industry as a preservative of processed meats. Also used in the production and handling of chromium and certain derivatives. Sodium nitrate is also used as a cement additive.
The chemical properties of sodium nitrate, NaNO ₃ formula, make its casting is given to 308 ° C and decomposition at 380 ° C. At higher temperatures decompose explosively. As perchloratesand other products for pyrotechnics and explosives, sodium nitrate is a strong oxidizing agent, which transmits its atoms optimally. It also has as its chemical properties and solubility of ammonia in different types of alcohol.