Salt vs. NaCl

I went to the vacation rentals to check on things, and our managers were using a different type of salt than we normally use. We have been using regular coarse sea salt for years. They were using salt pellets the size of rabbit poop. I do know there are some brands out there which use potassium, and are more expensive, and are for special treatment systems. They said they called the company, and the company said that the pellet type was fine. They also said that the pellets were cheaper. Upon returning home, we bought some salt for our house, and the coarse was $.60 per bag cheaper. Maybe it was where they shopped.
Is there any difference in the PURE SALT CRYSTALS AND PURE SALT PELLETS? Or can one use them interchangeably, and why make them if they are the same?
Steve
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Sodium chloride is sodium chloride, crystal size doesn't change the chemistry. Doesn't change the crystallography either which is isometric; all salt crystals are little cubes, whack them with a hammer and you get smaller cubes all the way down to the molecular level.
The salt pellets may just be small crystals stuck together. Why make them? Don't know but it takes a while for crystals to form...more time = bigger crystals; stick a lot of little crystals together into pellets and you have a product faster.
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dadiOH
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'dadiOH[_3_ Wrote: > ;3202025']

You've got the understanding right, but the terminology wrong. Crystals that have atoms at all 8 corners of a cube and that same pattern is repeated over and over again throughout the whole crystal are said to have a "simple cubic" crystalline structure.
'File:Sodium-chloride-3D-ionic.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia' (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sodium-chloride-3D-ionic.png )
There are also "body centered cubic" and "face centered cubic" crystalline structures which have an atom at all 8 corners of a cube PLUS an atom in the center of the cube, OR, PLUS an atom in the middle of each of the 6 faces of the cube. Because the atoms touch each other, simple cubic, body centered cubic and face centered cubic crystals are of different size.
Many metals are made of face centered or body centered cubic "crystals" although most people wouldn't think of metals as being crystalline in structure. In fact, they are. The way to imagine a metal is to imagine what happens when a cluster of towns all grow and merge together into one big city. Within each town, the streets and avenues are perpendicular to one another. But, where the towns meet (at the crystal boundaries) the streets and avenues will change direction, stop altogether or do a "dog leg" and continue on in a new direction. If you imagine this same thing happening in 3 dimensions instead of just two dimensions, you understand why metals actually have a crystalline structure.
If a metal cools from a molten liquid, crystals start growing at various locations in the metal. As these crystals grow and encounter each other, you will have a bit of chaos at the crystal boundaries, but a well organized and repeating pattern within each crystal. It's the crystal boundaries where the metal is the weakest, so that if we could grow a single HUGE crystal of metal atoms, it would be much stronger than if that metal were to solidify from a molten liquid in the usual way.
'dadiOH[_3_ Wrote: > ;3202025']

> smaller cubes all the way down to the molecular level.

I know you know what you mean, but you're making it sound like if you smack one crystalline cube of sodium chloride with a baseball bat, you'll get two, three or four smaller cubes, and that's not true. If you smack a hunk of salt, it'll break into some arbitrarily shaped pieces, but each piece will be made up of gazillions of individual cubic crystals just like the original crystal.
Imagine if you made a 1:1 scale model city bus out of Lego blocks and smashed into it with a real car. The resulting pieces of the bus would be arbitrary in shape, but they'd still be made of the same shape Lego blocks.
So, the salt rocks you buy for a water softener may be arbitrary in shape, but at the atomic level, all of the atoms are arranged in a cubic pattern as dadiOH says.
And, yes, you can have materials that consist of molecules (not just atoms) arranged in a consistant repeating pattern, and therefore "crystalline" in structure.
Ya gotta know this stuff to be king.
--
nestork


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<stuff snipped>

Most are, but a class of new metals aren't, at least in their "end state" (as a result of mechanical manipulation, usually). Not a knock against you, Nestor, just a point of information I am aware of because dad was a materials science engineer who worked primarily with titanium for the USN.
IIRC, the materials showed a lot of promise in the area of resistance to EMP's (electromagnetic pulses) that could be used to decimate the electronics and avionic of an adversary. Not sure if the research ever was applied in practice. I know the use of amorphous metal to build subs was abandoned because of fabrication issues although IIRC there were some small deep diving submersibles that were made using MG or similar techniques.
<<An amorphous metal (also known metallic glass or glassy metal) is a solid metallic material, usually an alloy, with a disordered atomic-scale structure. Most metals are crystalline in their solid state, which means they have a highly ordered arrangement of atoms. Amorphous metals are non-crystalline, and have a glass-like structure. But unlike common glasses, such as window-glass, which are typically insulators, amorphous metals have good electrical conductivity. There are several ways in which amorphous metals can be produced, including extremely rapid cooling, physical vapor deposition, solid-state reaction, ion irradiation, and mechanical alloying. In the past, small batches of amorphous metals have been produced through a variety of quick-cooling methods. For instance, amorphous metal wires have been produced by sputtering molten metal onto a spinning metal disk (melt spinning). The rapid cooling, on the order of millions of degrees a second, is too fast for crystals to form and the material is "locked" in a glassy state. More recently a number of alloys with critical cooling rates low enough to allow formation of amorphous structure in thick layers (over 1 millimeter) had been produced; these are known as bulk metallic glasses (BMG). Liquidmetal sells a number of titanium-based BMGs, developed in studies originally carried out at Caltech. More recently, batches of amorphous steel have been produced that demonstrate strengths much greater than conventional steel alloys.>>
Some of you might even own items fabricated from these substances:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidmetal says:
<<The ability to be cast and molded, combined with high wear resistance, has also led to Liquidmetal being used as a replacement for plastics in some applications. It has been used on the casing of late-model SanDisk "Cruzer Titanium" USB flash drives as well as their Sansa line of flash-based MP3 player, and casings of some mobile phones, like the luxury Vertu products, and other toughened consumer electronics. Liquidmetal has also notably been used for making the SIM ejector tool of some iPhone 3Gs made by Apple Inc., shipped in the US.>>
I also believe that MG's are being used now in nanotechnology but am too lazy to look it up!
(-:
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Bobby G.





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It has been a while since I studied mineralogy - I was a geology major - but apparently halite crystals (salt) are still referred to as "isometric". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_crystal_system

Try it sometime and look at the result with a 10x loupe.

Yep :)
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dadiOH wrote:

Hmm, Eating table salt, water softener salt or ice melting salt?
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All.
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dadiOH
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Steve:
Normally salt is mined, and the coarse salt you buy in hardware stores comes from those mines. And, you can often find that it's not pure white like table salt, but has impurities in it.
But, NaCl is also a byproduct of manufacturing other chemicals, and I expect that's probably where the pellets come from.
My own thinking is that the pellets would probably be purer NaCl than the stuff that comes from salt mines.
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nestork

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On Sat, 22 Feb 2014 21:02:01 +0100, nestork

The other major source is sea salt - purer (generally) than rock salt - and finer grained.
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Generally true but much depends upon which mine and how the salt was deposited (evaporation vs pushed up dome, eg).
Some mines have relatively thin beds of salt interspersed with other deposits (silt, sand, other minerals) but others have very thick layers of pure salt. However, even salt from those thick bed mines could pick up other stuff along the way.

True. Here's what I found about pellets...
"Pellet salt is a higher purity salt than solar salt. It comes in an oval/egg like shape. It reduces the chance that bridging will occur in your brine tank and is typically used in applications that require higher purity such as hospitals, food plants, and various other applications. We deliver pellet salt in 50 lb. plastic bags. Pellet salt typically has a purity of 99.87%. It is vacuum pan salt produced by industry standard solution mining and evaporation process. The salt is washed, filtered, dried, screened, pressed into pellets, admixed, and quality control tested. "
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dadiOH
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On 2/22/2014 12:30 PM, SteveB wrote:

I prefer the pellets as they fit the salt mill better and a coarse grind has better mouth feel. Coarse salt and pepper is all you need on a really good steak.
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I like calcium chloride balls vs sodium chloride rock salt. it costs more but has a lower working temperature, and might be safer on concrete.
Greg
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