Its common name derives from its chemical identity as a sodium hydrate and because it is caustic or corrosive. In pure form, caustic soda is a waxy, white solid. It readily absorbs water and forms aqueous solutions.
Caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) is a versatile alkali. Its main uses are in the manufacture of pulp and paper, alumina, soap and detergents, petroleum products and chemical production. Other applications include water treatment, food, textiles, metal processing, mining, glass making and others.