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  1. Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda, soda ash and soda crystals), Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the ashes of many plants. It is synthetically produced in large quantities from salt (sodium chloride) and limestone by a method known as the Solvay process. Well, thats cleared that up!! Last stop of a recent northern foray was this industrial gem... The Soda Ash Works at Northwich. Cant understand why this place doesnt get a lot more attention, ITS ACE!! Pipes, walkways, belts, allsorts!! Slightly unnerving in parts though as the site is still used for storage and some of the machines are still turned on!! We wished we'd made this the first visit of the day, so much too see but we ran out of time... REVISIT!? Visited as ever with my partner in crime NK and the 'future moochers' although no pix from NK at the minute, hopefully she'll add some when she gets time... Thanks for lookin' in and a big shout to Maniac for the heads up!