Skip to Main Content

About Salts

Salts are ionic compounds composed of cations and anions in appropriate proportions to produce electrically neutral species. Salts are named by cation species first followed by anion species. Examples of common salts include sodium chloride, sodium bisulfate, calcium chloride and potassium dichromate.


Halides are compounds in which a halogen atom (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine) acts as the anionic species bound to a cationic species. Metal halides are typically used for lighting, photographic films and other applications depending on the specific compound. Fluorides are used in toothpastes, as a food additive, in optical materials, and in biological applications as a phosphatase inhibitor. Chlorides are frequently used in electrolysis and desalination. Bromides are found in veterinary medicine and diagnostics. Iodides are added to table salt as a supplement. Many metal halides serve as important precursor materials in thin film deposition and, more recently, in the formation of perovskite solar cells.


Oxyanions are polyatomic anions which incorporate oxygen and can be formed by a majority of elements. Common oxyanion compounds include borates, bromates, bromites, carbonates, chlorates, chlorites, phosphates, nitrates, silicates, and sulfates. Oxyanions are named by the oxidation state of the central oxygen-bound atom. Examples of oxyanions include phosphate compounds which are found abundantly in biological systems as energy storage compounds, ATP and ADP, nitrate compounds which are used in fertilizers and as oxidizing agents, and carbonates found in biological systems to function as a pH buffer.


Salts are found in numerous products and processes including batteries, metallurgy, renewable energy, chemical synthesis, industrial processes and biomaterials. Batteries and fuel cells typically use salts as electrolytes allowing ions to move from one electrode to another. For example salt water electrolytes are used in both fuel cells and batteries enabling the flow of current between electrodes. Another area of active research and application of salts includes using molten salts in extractive metallurgy, thermal storage, heat treatments and metal surface modification. In extractive metallurgy, one commonly used technique is to convert metals into soluble or molten salts. Steel annealing heat treatments typically make use of molten chloride salts and fluoride salts are used in the product of aluminum. In addition, metal salts are used to produce the brilliant colors of fireworks.

A wide variety of industrial applications exist for inorganic salts including pulp and paper manufacturing, agricultural fertilizers and pesticides, and glass colorants or pigments. Metal salts are also frequently used as semiconductor dopants to produce select conductivity requirements.


Hydrated & Anhydrous

Salts can take on either hydrated or anhydrous forms. Hydrated salts are salt compounds that include water molecules in their crystal structure. Many salts are found in hydrated form and maintain a solid crystalline state. The hydration of salt crystals is known as the water of crystallization, where water is often required for the crystal formation of the salt. Common types of hydrated salts include magnesium salts such as Epsom salt and gypsum which is abundantly used in construction materials. Anhydrous salts are salts that do not contain water molecules within their crystal structure. Salts that take on an anhydrous form are usually found in powder form.

Ultra Dry

American Elements specializes in manufacturing ultra dry and anhydrous compounds for oxygen and moisture sensitive applications. Ultra Dry Materials are produced at high purities and packaged under argon to ensure oxygen and water impurities are minimized. Purities may include 99%, 99.9%, 99.99%, 99.999% and 99.9999%, which are sometimes referred to as 2N, 3N, 4N, 5N and 6N. American Elements maintains industrial scale production for all its Ultra Dry products.


Some salt compounds are soluble in water and form aqueous ionic solutions. The most common salt solution is brine formed from sodium chloride solution in water. Other common ionic salt solutions contain salts of potassium, calcium, or magnesium.

American Elements produces solutions of a variety of compounds under the trademark AE Solutions™. We specialize in rare earth compound solutions, including compounds of lanthanum, cerium, erbium, ytterbium, neodymium, and yttrium, as well as solutions of compounds other rare metals of industrial importance, including compounds of palladium, platinum, hafnium, scandium, niobium, tungsten, and ruthenium. We also produce solutions of more common commodity compounds, including chlorides, nitrates, sulfates, and acetates of common metals such as copper, tin, and nickel.

American Elements can prepare homogenous solutions at customer specified concentrations or to the maximum stoichiometric concentration. Packaging is available in 55 gallon drums, smaller units and larger liquid totes.

American Elements maintains solution production facilities in the United States, Northern Europe (Liverpool, UK), Southern Europe (Milan, Italy), Australia and China to allow for lower freight costs and quicker delivery to our customers worldwide.

American Elements metal and rare earth compound solutions find a wide variety of applications across industries, including uses in petrochemical cracking, water treatment, plating, textiles, research, defense, and optics.

+ Open All
- Close All

American Elements manufactures inorganic salts in high purity and ultra high purity forms (99%, 99.9%, 99.99%, 99.999% and 99.9999%) and in specifications ranging from ACS grade to crystal grade; we employ ICP-MS trace metals analysis to parts per million (ppm) and parts per billion (ppb) level impurities certified.

American Elements is capable of producing most materials in a range of different forms including: anhydrous or ultra dry forms, solutions and dispersions, powders, and bulk solids (flakes, granules, pellets).

Health & Safety

Safety hazards related to chemicals and salts vary based on their chemical make up. Salts containing toxic metals should be considered poisonous, and reactive compounds should be handled with care. Always consult safety information regarding the specific compound you are using before handling the compound, and store reactive compounds in appropriate containers.

Recent Research & Development for Chemicals & Salts

  • Multiphase Chemical Kinetics of OH Radical Uptake by Molecular Organic Markers of Biomass Burning Aerosols: Humidity and Temperature Dependence, Surface Reaction and Bulk Diffusion. Andrea M. Arangio, Jonathan H. Slade, Thomas Berkemeier, Ulrich Poeschl, Daniel Alexander Knopf, and Manabu Shiraiwa. J. Phys. Chem. A: February 16, 2015
  • EPR and Quantum Chemical Investigation of a Bioinspired Hydrogenase Model with a Redox-Active Ligand in the First Coordination Sphere. Amélie Kochem, Thomas Weyhermüller, Frank Neese, and Maurice van Gastel. Organometallics: February 16, 2015
  • Chemical and Electronic Structure Characterization of Lead Halide Perovskites and Stability Behavior under Different Exposures - a Photoelectron Spectroscopy Investigation. Bertrand Philippe, Byung-Wook Park, Rebecka Lindblad, Johan Oscarsson, Sareh Ahmadi, Erik M. J. Johansson, and Håkan Rensmo. Chem. Mater.: February 14, 2015
  • Catalytic Hydrogenolysis of Aryl Ethers: A Key Step in Lignin Valorization to Valuable Chemicals. Muhammad Zaheer and Rhett Kempe. ACS Catal.: February 13, 2015
  • Exploration of Earth-Abundant Transition Metals (Fe, Co, and Ni) as Catalysts in Unreactive Chemical Bond Activations. Bo Su, Zhi-Chao Cao, and Zhang-Jie Shi. Acc. Chem. Res.: February 13, 2015
  • Chemical Synthesis of the Repeating Unit of Type Ia Group B Streptococcus Capsular Polysaccharide. Prolay K. Mondal, Guochao Liao, Mohabul A. Mondal, and Zhongwu Guo. Org. Lett.: February 12, 2015
  • Sensitive and Simultaneous Determination of 5-Methylcytosine and Its Oxidation Products in Genomic DNA by Chemical Derivatization Coupled with Liquid Chromatography - Tandem Mass Spectrometry Analysis. Yang Tang, Shu-Jian Zheng, Chu-Bo Qi, Yu-Qi Feng, and Bi-Feng Yuan. Anal. Chem.: February 12, 2015
  • In-situ Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance (LSPR) Spectroscopy to Investigate Kinetics of Chemical Bath Deposition of CdS Thin Films. Humaira Taz, Rose E. Ruther, Abhinav Malasi, Sagar Yadavali, Connor Gareth Carr, Jagjit Nanda, and Ramki Kalyanaraman. J. Phys. Chem. C: February 11, 2015
  • Crystal Chemical Analysis of Nd9.33Si6O26 and Nd8Sr2Si6O26 Apatite Electrolytes Using Aberration-Corrected Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy and Impedance Spectroscopy. Tao An, Tom Baikie, Matthew Weyland, J. Felix Shin, Peter R. Slater, Jun Wei, and Tim J. White. Chem. Mater.: February 11, 2015
  • Sensing signatures mediated by chemical structure of molecular solids in laser-induced plasmas. Jorge Serrano, Javier Moros, and José Javier Laserna. Anal. Chem.: February 10, 2015
  • Room temperature ferromagnetism in thin films of LaMnO3 deposited by a chemical method over large areas.. Jose Manuel Vila-Fungueiriño, Beatriz Rivas-Murias, Benito Rodríguez-González, Oihana Txoperena, D. Ciudad, Luis E Hueso, Massimo Lazzari, and Francisco Rivadulla. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces: February 10, 2015
  • A Chemical Test of Critical Point Isomorphism: Reactive Dissolution of Ionic Solids in Isobutyric Acid + Water Near the Consolute Point. James Kern Baird, Jonathan D Baker, Baichuan Hu, Joshua R Lang, Karen E Joyce, Alison K Sides, and Randi D. Richey. J. Phys. Chem. B: February 10, 2015
  • Quantitative assessments of the distinct contributions of polypeptide backbone amides versus sidechain groups to chain expansion via chemical denaturation. Alex S Holehouse, Kanchan Garai, Nicholas Lyle, Andreas Vitalis, and Rohit V Pappu. J. Am. Chem. Soc.: February 9, 2015
  • Silica-Titania Composite Aerogel Photocatalysts by Chemical Liquid Deposition of Titania onto Nanoporous Silica Scaffolds. Guoqing Zu, Jun Shen, Wenqin Wang, Liping Zou, Ya Lian, and Zhihua Zhang. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces: February 9, 2015
  • Graphene Growth on Pt(111) by Ethylene Chemical Vapor Deposition at Surface Temperatures near 1000 K. Gregory William Cushing, Viktor Johánek, Jason K. Navin, and Ian Harrison. J. Phys. Chem. C: February 9, 2015