Sodium chlorate

Sodium chlorate



Sodium chlorate is hardly ever used in pyrotechnics, since it is very hygroscopic. It finds occasional use in composite rocket propellants. It is however very useful as a starting point in the preparation of several other (less hygroscopic) chlorates for which reason it is included here.


Sodium chlorate can be prepared at home. It involves electrolysing a sodium chloride solution under certain circumstances. A description of the process, cell and anode design, etc. for home produciton may be found in the chlorate and perchlorate section of this page. In some countries, France for example, sodium chlorate may be obtained as a herbicide.



Sodium chlorate is toxic, and breathing protection should be worn when handling fine powder. Compositions made with sodium chlorate tend to be more sensitive than those based on nitrates and perchlorates and should therefore be handled accordingly. Sodium chlorate, or any chlorate for that matter, should never be used in combination with sulfur and sulfides. Mixtures containing both are very sensitive and may spontaneously ignite. In general, when using chlorates great care should be taken to avoid contamination of other compositions or tools. Also read the general safety page for more information on this problem. Acidic solutions containing chlorates generate a very poisonous and explosive gas, ClO2.