The objective of this study is to investigate experimentally and theoretically whether sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) salt is suitable for establishing a salinity gradient in a salt-gradient solar-pond (SGSP). For this purpose, a small-scale prismatic solar-pond was constructed. Experiments were conducted in the laboratory under the incident radiation from two halogen-lamps acting as a solar simulator. Furthermore, a one-dimensional transient mathematical model that describes the heat and mass transfer behaviour of the SGSP was developed. The differential equations obtained were solved numerically using a finite-difference method. It was found from the experiments that the density gradient, achieved using sodium carbonate salt, can suppress convection from the bottom to the surface of the pond. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.