Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Name, Symbol, Number||sodium, Na, 11|
|Group, Period, Block||1 (IA), 3, s|
|Density, Hardness||968 kg/m3, 0.5|
|Appearance|| silvery white|
|Atomic weight||22.989770 u|
|Atomic radius (calc.)||180 (190) pm|
|Covalent radius||124 pm|
|van der Waals radius||227 pm|
|e- 's per energy level||2, 8, 8, 8, 3|
|Oxidation states (Oxide)||2 (strong base)|
|Crystal structure||Cubic body centered|
|State of matter||solid (paramagnetic)|
|Melting point||370.87 K (207.90 °F)|
|Boiling point||1156 K (1621 °F)|
|Molar volume||23.78 cm3/mol|
|Heat of vaporization||96.96 kJ/mol|
|Heat of fusion||2.598 kJ/mol|
|Vapor pressure||14.3 µPa at 1234 K|
|Speed of sound||3200 m/s at 20 °C|
|Electronegativity||0.93 (Pauling scale)|
|Specific heat capacity||1230 J/(kg·K)|
|Electrical conductivity||21 MS/m|
|Thermal conductivity||141 W/(m·K)|
|1st ionization potential||495.8 kJ/mol|
|2nd ionization potential||4562 kJ/mol|
|3rd ionization potential||6910.3 kJ/mol|
|4th ionization potential||9543 kJ/mol|
|5th ionization potential||13354 kJ/mol|
|6th ionization potential||16613 kJ/mol|
|7th ionization potential||20117 kJ/mol|
|8th ionization potential||25496 kJ/mol|
|9th ionization potential||28932 kJ/mol|
|10th ionization potential||141362 kJ/mol|
|Most stable isotopes|
|SI units & STP are used except where noted.|
Sodium is the chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Na (Natrium in Latin) and atom number 11. Sodium is a soft, waxy, silvery reactive metal belonging to the alkali metals that is abundant in natural compounds (especially halite). It is highly reactive, burns with a yellow flame, oxidizes in air and reacts violently with water, forcing it to be kept under oil.
Like the other alkali metals, sodium is a soft, light-weight, silvery white, reactive element that is never found as a pure element in nature. Sodium floats in water, as well as decomposing it to release hydrogen gas and hydroxide ions. If ground to a fine enough powder, sodium will ignite spontaneously in water. However, it does not normally ignite in air below 388 kelvins.
Sodium in its metallic form is an essential component in the making of esters and in the manufacture of organic compounds. This alkali metal is also a component of sodium chloride (NaCl) which is vital to life. Other uses:
- In certain alloys to improve their structure,
- In soap (in combination with fatty acids),
- To descale (make its surface smooth) metal, and
- To purify molten metals.
- In sodium vapor lamps, an efficient means of producing light from electricity.
Sodium (English, soda) has long been recognized in compounds, but was not isolated until 1807 by Sir Humphry Davy through the electrolysis of caustic soda. In medieval Europe a compound of sodium with the Latin name of sodanum was used as a headache remedy. Sodium's symbol, Na, comes for the neo-Latin name for a common sodium compound named natrium, which comes from the Greek nítron, a kind of natural salt.
Sodium is relatively abundant in stars and the D spectral lines of this element are among the most prominent in star light. Sodium makes up about 2.6% by weight of the Earth's crust making it the fourth most abundant element overall and the most abundant alkali metal. It is now produced commercially through the electrolysis of completely dry fused sodium chloride. This method is less expensive than the previous method of electrolyzing sodium hydroxide. Metallic sodium cost about 15 to 20 US cents per pound (US$0.30/kg to US$0.45/kg) in 1997 but reagent grade (ACS) sodium cost about US$35 per pound (US$75/kg) in 1990. It is the cheapest of all metals by volume.
Sodium chloride, better known as common salt, is the most common compound of sodium, but sodium occurs in many other minerals, such as amphibole, cryolite, halite, soda niter, zeolite, etc. Sodium compounds are important to the chemical, glass, metal, paper, petroleum, soap, and textile industries. Soap is generally a sodium salt of certain fatty acids.
The sodium compounds that are the most important to industry are common salt (NaCl), soda ash (Na2CO3), baking soda (NaHCO3), caustic soda (NaOH), Chile saltpeter (NaNO3), di- and tri-sodium phosphates, sodium thiosulfate (hypo, Na2S2O3 · 5H2O), and borax (Na2B4O7 · 10H2O).
There are thirteen isotopes of sodium that have been recognized. The only stable isotope is Na-23. Sodium has two radioactive cosmogenic isotopes (Na-22, half-life = 2.605 years; Na-24, half-life ≈ 15 hours).
Sodium's powdered form is highly explosive in water and a poison combined and uncombined with many other elements. This metal should be handled carefully at all times. Sodium must be stored either in an inert atmosphere, or under mineral oil.
Physiology and Na ions
Sodium ions play a diverse role in many physiological processes. Excitable cells, for example, rely on the entry of Na+ to cause a depolarization. An example of this is signal transduction in the human central nervous system .
- WebElements.com – Sodium
- EnvironmentalChemistry.com – Sodium
- The Wooden Periodic Table Table's Entry on Sodium
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