Most of us are fond of going to the beach to enjoy the fresh air and swim in the salty waters of the sea. One of the many uses of the sea is that it is the main source of salt. Salt as we all know is used in many things, particularly in the kitchen, as it adds real flavor to our food. It works well with sugar to balance a particular taste. Aside from giving our food a saltier taste, sea salt is also used in cosmetic products, since it can give our skin a healthier glow. People usually use sea salt as a scrub while taking a bath to get rid of dead skin cells.
Salt as a solution contains the following components:
- Chloride. Sea salt is mostly composed of chloride, which is the ion form of the element chlorine. Chloride is used as an indicator of fecal contamination in rivers because of its non-reactive solute. It is also the heaviest among all the components of sea salt.
- Sodium. Sodium is a highly reactive metal and a member of the alkali metals. The sodium ion is present in the ocean because of its solubility in water. Its ionic form is essential for living creatures, specifically in animals and humans because of its vital role in the sodium-potassium pump, which can be found in their nervous systems. Lastly, it is also the second heaviest component that can be seen in sea salt.
- Sulfate. Sulfate is basically the salt form of sulfuric acid. Most of its ionic form is soluble in water. There are many uses for this polyatomic anion, in fact, Epsom salts or Magnesium sulfate in chemistry is said to be used for a therapeutic bath. Other forms of sulfate, particularly Gypsum, are utilized to produce plasters.
- Magnesium. Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal and is included in the top ten most abundant elements in the world. The magnesium ion’s solubility in water makes it possible to react with other elements, such as sodium and chloride, to form sea salt. Though this element is abundant and useful in many ways, it only contributes about 3.68% in the overall composition of sea salt.
- Calcium. Like Magnesium, Calcium is an alkaline earth metal and takes the fifth spot in the list of the world’s top ten most abundant elements. Calcium is vital in animals for its crucial role in cell physiology. Moreover, it also plays a major role in the formation of bones, as it gives additional strength.
- Potassium. Potassium as an element is very reactive to water. However only 1.11% of this element can be found in the chemical composition of sea salt.
- Other Elements. The other elements that compose sea salt are Bicarbonate, Bromide, Borate, and Strontium.
Sea salt is manually collected by first getting a volume of the dilute brine of the sea. Afterwards it is exposed under the sun in order for evaporation to occur. The concentrated slurry of salt and mud is scraped up and is washed by clean salt water to eliminate unwanted impurities. A final evaporation is set to happen by placing the concentrated brine in pans made out of clay and then putting it over a peat fire. When the dried salt is scraped out, it is ready to be sold. The French workers, however, have another way of doing this. They scrape only the top layer of salt before it settles in the bottom of the saltpans. This kind of sea salt is what they call Fleur de sel, which means Flower of salt.