Sodium hexametaphosphate (SHMP) is a hexamer of composition (NaPO3)6. Sodium hexametaphosphate of commerce is typically a mixture of polymeric metaphosphates, of which the hexamer is one, and is usually the compound referred to by this name. It is more correctly termed sodium polymetaphosphate. It is prepared by melting monosodium orthophosphate, followed by rapid cooling. SHMP hydrolyzes in aqueous solution, particularly under acidic conditions, to sodium trimetaphosphate and sodium orthophosphate. SHMP is used as a sequestrant and has applications in a wide variety of industries, including as a food additive in which it is used under the E number E452i. Sodium carbonate is sometimes added to SHMP to raise the pH to 8.0-8.6, which produces a number of SHMP products used for water softening and detergents. Also used as a dispersing agent to break down clay and other soil types.
It is also used as an additive in Rubicon Mango drinks, Diet Lipton teas and Life Brand naturally flavored bottled water.