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sodium metasilicate anhydrous (Water Glass) is a white free flowing granular powder which is used in many cleaner, detergent and soap formulations. In detergent compositions it acts as a builder, deflocculant, wetting agent, suspending agent, emulsifier and buffering agent. It also serves as a corrosion inhibitor and penetrating sealant. In addition, it is a good bleach stabiliser and a superior deinking additive. It is highly alkaline and has a strong buffering action to prevent large pH changes.
It is also used as a cement binding agent, dye fixative in hand dyeing with reactive dyes and to wash carbonated bottles. It is also found in wood stains, fireproofing of refractories and automobiles and for etching aluminum. It is also useful in boiler compounds and cleaners, as well as coagulants for water treatment, and as an effective alum substitute in metallurgy.
The problem in the past with anhydrous sodium metasilicate was that it would, under certain conditions, be subject to coloration and to the evolution of a perfume-like odor after but a short period of storage. It has been proposed to stabilize this compound by forming an admixture with certain gluconic derivatives or with soluble caustic salts, such as those of phosphorus and with monosodium phosphate. While such treatments are quite satisfactory, they involve treating pulverized anhydrous metasilicate with a liquid medium and, in the process, introducing the formation of undesirable, volatile “dust.” The present invention provides a much simpler method for stabilizing anhydrous sodium metasilicate by formulating it with such water evolving additives as will release molecular water thereto. This will in turn convert a minor proportion of the anhydrous metasilicate into its pentahydrate form.