What Are Some Common Uses For Thiosulfate Chemicals

Thiosulfates are a type of oxyanion of sulfur, meaning they consist of a sulfate ion with one oxygen ion. These compounds can be produced by natural means, but are also commonly chemically synthesized. The thiosulfate class of chemicals is useful for a wide variety of commercial, medical, and industrial applications, so let’s take a look at how thiosulfates are used in this blog from Bisley. 

1. Treatment Of Cyanide Poisoning

Sodium thiosulfate (alternatively spelled sodium thiosulphate) is an important ingredient used to treat cyanide poisoning. Along with sodium nitrate, its drug interactions with cyanide help convert cyanide into a compound that can be easily removed from the body through urination.

Side effects of this treatment can include agitation, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, pain in the joints, and ringing in the ears, to name a few.

The use of sodium thiosulfate and sodium nitrate is considered to be a “second-line” therapy after Hydroxocobalamin (Vitamin B12a) injections, which has the same basic effect of converting cyanide to the less-toxic cyanocobalamin, which can be excreted in the urine. 

Note that you should not and cannot attempt to use sodium thiosulfate and sodium nitrate on your own. This does not constitute medical advice. If you suspect you have been poisoned by cyanide or any other product, seek the help of a healthcare professional immediately. 

 2. Water Dechlorination 

Sodium thiosulfate is a powerful dechlorinator, meaning that it inactivates bleaching agents in water, such as chlorine bleach. This makes it very useful in the papermaking industry, where it’s often added to batches of paper once the desired brightness has been achieved.

3. Silver Ore Processing & Smelting 

Thiosulfates can be used in the processing of silver ore, especially from waste ore and tailings. This is a viable alternative to the highly-toxic “cyanidation” process which is frequently used to recover precious metals like silver from ore.

Thiosulfate has the ability to convert silver compounds into silver complexes that are soluble and easier to process, enhancing overall output and yield in silver mining operations. 

4. Traditional Film Photography 

Sodium thiosulfate, in particular, is used as a photographic “fixer” that’s used to fix black and white negatives after the initial developing stage. It helps stabilize the image, removes the remaining silver halide, and renders the negative insensitive to future light exposure. When used for this purpose, sodium thiosulfate is often known as “hypo.” 

Ammonium thiosulfate is more commonly used by traditional black and white photographers today, however, as it fixes images 3-4 times faster compared to sodium thiosulfate.

5. Leather Production 

Thiosulfates like sodium thiosulfate are often used in tanning goat skins for the manufacture of glace kid leather, and for creating calfskin leathers. Together with other chemicals like potassium/sodium dichromate, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid, sodium thiosulfate helps strengthen, dry, and preserve these leather products. 

This is sometimes referred to as the “chrome tanning” method, because small amounts of chromium sulfate are also typically used in the process of tanning and curing the leather. 

Contact Bisley For High-Quality Thiosulfates & Get Everything You Need 

Beyond these uses, thiosulfates from Bisley have a number of other industrial, agricultural, and commercial uses. We offer consistent quality and reliable shipments for commercial and industrial customers worldwide. And with wholesale quantities and prices, we guarantee that we’ll have the chemicals you need at a great price. So don’t wait. If you’re interested in what we have to offer, contact us today. 

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