Salt is a natural mineral made up of white cube-shaped crystals composed of two elements, sodium and chlorine. When chemically united they form the compound sodium chloride or NaCl.
Sodium chloride is readily soluble in water yet insoluble or only slightly soluble in most other liquids. It is translucent, colourless, odourless and has a distinctive and characteristic taste.
It is an ionic compound, being made up of equal numbers of positively charged sodium and negatively charged chloride ions. When it is melted or dissolved in water, the ions can move about freely making the sodium chloride solution a good conductor of electricity. This can then be decomposed into sodium and chlorine by passing an electrical current through it (electrolysis).
Salt occurs naturally in many parts of the world as the mineral often referred to as halite. Halite comes from the Greek word ‘halos’, meaning ‘salt’ and for thousands of years has been mined as a crystalline rock or ‘lithos halos’ - rock salt.