What is the Difference Between Sodium CMC and CMC

The key difference between sodium CMC and CMC is that sodium CMC, or sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, is easily soluble in both hot and cold water and is easy to preserve, whereas CMC, or carboxymethyl cellulose, is poorly soluble in water and is difficult to preserve as it is.

Typically, we can find carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) in the form of sodium CMC, which is the sodium salt form of CMC. It is converted into sodium salt form because of its poor water solubility. Sodium CMC has a high-water solubility, making it easy to preserve.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Sodium CMC  
3. What is CMC
4. Sodium CMC vs CMC  in Tabular Form
5. Summary – Sodium CMC vs CMC

What is Sodium CMC?

Sodium CMC is sodium carboxymethyl cellulose. It is a derivative of CMC. It is an important product of cellulose ethers and is usually formed by the modification of natural cellulose. Typically, the CMC compound has poor water solubility; therefore, we can preserve it in the form of sodium CMC. This compound is also soluble in cold water, and it has dispersibility. The unusual chemical properties of sodium CMC are emulsifying dispersion and solid dispersion properties. It can be described as a natural polymer derivative.

Figure 01: Sample of Carboxymethyl Cellulose

There are many important applications of sodium CMC, including industries such as the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, dentistry, medicine, etc. This macromolecular chemical substance can absorb water and swell. When swelling in water, it can form a thick transparent solution. Moreover, it is neutral in pH.

Typically, sodium CMC appears as a white to slightly yellowish fibrous powder. It is odorless and tasteless. Further, it is non-toxic and easily soluble in hot or cold water due to the presence of sodium salt form. It is stable against light and heat. However, the viscosity of this compound decreases with the rise of temperature.

What is CMC?

CMC stands for carboxymethyl cellulose. It is also known as cellulose gum. We can define it as a cellulose derivative having carboxymethyl groups that are bound to some hydroxyl groups of the glucopyranose monomers in the cellulose backbone. Often, this compound is useful in its sodium salt form. We call it sodium CMC. The trade name for this compound in the market is Tylose.

Figure 01: The Chemical Structure of CMC

When considering the preparation of the CMC compound, we can synthesize it by the alkali-catalyzed reaction of cellulose in the presence of chloroacetic acid. Here, the polar carboxyl groups render the solubility of cellulose and chemical reactivity. After the completion of this first step, the resultant reaction mixture usually contains about 60% CMC and 40% sodium salts such as sodium chloride and sodium glycolate. We can describe this product mixture as technical CMC, which is useful in manufacturing detergents. Thereafter, we need another purification step to remove the salt compounds and purify the CMC compound. This pure CMC is useful in the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, and toothpaste manufacturing. Moreover, there is a semi-purified product as well, which is important in paper applications, including the restoration of archival documents.

There are many applications of CMC, including the food industry, where it has the E number E466 or E469 (the enzymatically hydrolyzed form), which is useful as a viscosity modifier and as a thickener. In addition, it is important in stabilizing emulsions in products such as ice cream. Further, CMC is useful in the production of toothpaste, laxatives, diet pills, water-based paints, detergents, textile sizing, paper products, etc.

What is the Difference Between Sodium CMC and CMC?

CMC stands for carboxymethyl cellulose. Sodium CMC is the sodium salt form of the CMC compound. The key difference between sodium CMC and CMC is that sodium CMC is easily soluble in both hot and cold water; thus, it is easy to preserve, whereas CMC is poorly soluble in water; thus, it is difficult to preserve as it is. Moreover, CMS is used in the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, dentistry, medicine, etc., whereas sodium CMC is used in the food industry, production of toothpaste, laxatives, diet pills, water-based paints, detergents, textile sizing, paper products, etc.

The following figure summarizes the difference between sodium CMC and CMC in tabular form for side by side comparison.

Summary – Sodium CMC vs CMC

CMC and sodium CMC are related compounds. The term CMC stands for carboxymethyl cellulose. The key difference between sodium CMC and CMC is that sodium CMC is easily soluble in both hot and cold water and is easy to preserve, whereas CMC is poorly soluble in wate and is difficult to preserve as it is.