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Sodium (Na): Alkali Metals

Sodium (Na)

What is Sodium?

Sodium (Na), chemical element of the alkali metal group (Group 1 [Ia]) of the periodic table. Sodium is a very soft silvery-white metal. Sodium is the most common alkali metal and the sixth most abundant element on Earth, comprising 2.8 percent of Earth’s crust. It occurs abundantly in nature in compounds, especially common salt—sodium chloride (NaCl)—which forms the mineral halite and constitutes about 80 percent of the dissolved constituents of seawater. Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica

The History

Salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) and soda (sodium carbonate, Na2CO3) had been known since prehistoric times, the former used as a flavouring and preservative, and the latter for glass manufacture. Salt came from seawater, while soda came from the Natron Valley in Egypt or from the ash of certain plants. Their composition was debated by early chemists and the solution finally came from the Royal Institution in London in October 1807 where Humphry Davy exposed caustic soda (sodium hydroxide, NaOH) to an electric current and obtained globules of sodium metal, just as he had previously done for potassium, although he needed to use a stronger current. The following year, Louis-Josef Gay-Lussac and Louis-Jacques Thénard obtained sodium by heating to red heat a mixture of caustic soda and iron filings. Continue reading from Royal Society of Chemistry

Sodium Facts

Sodium is the sixth-most abundant element on Earth, according to the Jefferson Lab. Ever wonder what the difference is between kosher salt and regular table salt? The grains contain about half the sodium, for one thing. Kosher salt also lacks added iodine.  Salt overdose is real. In 2013, doctors reported on the case of a 19-year-old man who went into a coma after chugging a bottle of soy sauce. The excess sodium in the blood caused water to move out of the brain into the bloodstream, causing seizures and then unconsciousness. With emergency treatment, the man survived without lasting side effects. Yellow street lamps often owe their color to sodium. Sodium lamps use a mix of neon gas and solid sodium to achieve their golden hue. They were invented in 1920, according to the Edison Tech Center. Continue reading from Live Science

Chart of Elemental Properties for Sodium

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