What is Barium Carbonate

Barium carbonate or Witherite, has the molecular formula BaCO3. The mineral Witherite is named after an English chemist, William Withering, who recognized Witherite to be distinctive chemically from barytes in 1784. It is a white crystalline solid which melts at 1740 ˚C and decomposes at 1300 ˚C. It could be crystallized in the orthorhombic system. While it is soluble in acidic solutions, it is insoluble in water and alcohol. It is normally employed in rat poison, bricks, ceramic glazes and cement.

Manufacturing Process

Barium carbonate is made from barium sulphide or black ash which is dissolved in water. The clear solution is the raw material in producing barium carbonate. There are two ways to produce the carbonate anion:
1. Soda ash method: barium sulphide reacts with the solid form or dissolved sodium carbonate to produce barium carbonate and sodium sulphide. The resulting barium carbonate precipitate is filtered, washed and dried.
2. Straight gassing method: carbon dioxide is passed through barium sulphide to form barium carbonate and hydrogen sulphide gas. The toxic hydrogen sulphide gas would then be converted to sulphur compounds or the elemental sulphur, while the barium carbonate would undergo precipitation, washing, drying and grinding.