Sodium: Properties, Uses and More

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Atomic Number11
Atomic Mass22.990
Discovered bySodium was discovered by Humphry Davy

Physical Properties of Sodium

  • Sodium exhibits a shiny metallic appearance, similar in color to silver.
  • It is malleable at ordinary temperatures, allowing it to be easily molded into thin sheets with just the pressure of one’s fingers.
  • Sodium compounds tarnish relatively quickly when exposed to the air, though not as swiftly as potassium.
  • When sodium comes into contact with oxygen in the air, it forms sodium oxide, which subsequently reacts with water vapor to create a film of sodium hydroxide.

Chemical Properties of Sodium

Group1Melting point97.794°C, 208.029°F, 370.944 K
Period3Boiling point882.940°C, 1621.292°F, 1156.090 K
BlocksDensity (g cm−3)0.97
Atomic number11Relative atomic mass22.990  
State at 20°CGasKey isotopes23Na
Electron configuration[Ne] 3s1CAS number7440-23-5

What is Sodium?

  • Sodium belongs to the alkali metal family, alongside lithium and potassium. Its most notable claim to fame is being one of the two elements found in our table salt.
  • Sodium chloride, commonly known as table salt, is produced by the reaction of sodium with chlorine. It is also utilized as a salt in fertilizers.
  • This reactive and soft metal, a crucial alkaline element commercially, has a low melting point. Sodium swiftly reacts with water, snow, and ice, resulting in the production of sodium hydroxide.
  • Upon exposure to air, metallic sodium undergoes a transformation, losing its silver appearance and developing an opaque grey layer, which is essentially a coating of sodium oxide. Remarkably, sodium does not react with nitrogen even at very high temperatures, but it does react with ammonia to form sodium amide.
  • At temperatures above 200ºC, sodium reacts with hydrogen to produce sodium hydride. Additionally, it forms compounds with various metallic halides, resulting in the creation of sodium chloride and the corresponding metal.
  • With an atomic number of 11, sodium is denoted by the symbol Na in the Periodic Table.

Uses of Sodium

  • Sodium finds applications in enhancing the structure of specific alloys, manufacturing soaps, purifying molten metals, and in sodium vapor lamps.
  • Being a component of sodium chloride, a vital compound in the living environment, sodium plays a crucial role.
  • In the manufacturing process of organic compounds and the production of esters, sodium holds significance.
  • Solid sodium carbonate is essential in the production of glass.
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