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Sodium Sodium (Na) Essay, Research Paper

Sodium has an atomic number of 11 and a mass of about 23g. It is a silvery white-metallic element classified under the alkali metals. Sodium has been known since early times and was used by the people of Mesopotamia and Egypt to make glasses. Sodium is the sixth most common element found on the earth. It is usually not found in nature but more often in compounds such as salt (NaCl). Sodium conducts heat and electricity easily. Without this element life could not exist. Each compound is used for a certain reason. About 2.8 percent of the earth’s crust contains this element making it the sixth most common in the earth’s crust. Sodium is found in compounds among dry lake beds, underground, and as well as in seawater in such places as: Belarus, China, France, Germany, India, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States. Sodium is an extremely chemically active element. If combined with water it tends to react vigorously. For example . Since, sodium is such a dangerous element it has to be handled with care and stored airtight meaning without oxygen. Sodium was first extracted into pure form in 1807 by an English chemist known as Sir Humphry Davy. He used the process of electrolysis where an electrical current is passed through a molten sodium compound such as sodium chloride, sodium was first extracted into its pure form. Many manufacturers today still use electricity to obtain sodium. Sodium is still highly manufactured for many industrial and commercial uses. Sodium has commercial uses as well as industrial uses. From soaps to fertilizers, sodium is used to make water softeners, textiles, and is used as well as to relieve stomach acid, sodium bicarbonate: a white crystalline weakly alkaline salt NaHCO 3 used especially in baking 1 powders, fire extinguishers, and medicine. (Definition from Structure and Matter, Glossary) Photographers use sodium thiosulphate: a hygroscopic crystalline salt Na 2 S 2 O 3 used especially as a fixing agent (Definition from Structure and Matter, Glossary)and a reducing or bleaching agent to fix photographic images on paper. Sodium in its pure form also has industrial uses such as in catalyst which help in making synthetic rubber. Sodium is combined with other metals to produce titanium zirconium and many other chemicals. It is used in the manufacture of tetraethyl lead and some power plants even use it in liquid form to cool nuclear reactors. Sodium fluoride is used to poison mice and roaches and also for ceramics. Sodium is also used as a fertilizer, Chile salt pepper which is the compound sodium nitrate. Sodium is also a necessary element in the body for the maintenance of normal fluid balance and other psychological functions. Also, it is used in making vapor lamps. Finally after going through sodium’s uses we can conclude that sodium is a versatile element. Sodium and Potassium compounds are similar. Since they are so alike they can be substituted for each other. Both are used in the industry but mostly sodium is used because it is less expensive, this secret was discovered in 1789 by a French chemist, Nicholas Leblanc, who was making soda(Na CO ) with common table salt. Sodium is highly useful and important. It is used in many compounds. Some physical properties of sodium are melting point:98 C, boiling point: 883 C, density: .97g/cm, atomic radius: 0.157nm and it is a solid . In a conductivity test sodium chloride turned out to a strong electrolyte in comparison with mercuric chloride solution which turned out to be a weak electrolyte: a compound that conducts an electric current in an aqueous solution or in the molten state .(Definition from: Addison Wesley Chemistry, Glossary pg.863) Sodium is produced when molten sodium chloride is electrolyzed. It is an alkali metal is manufactured on a large scale. 2 In order to make the metal sodium ions have to be reduced. After researching sodium’s uses in everyday life I came to the conclusion that sodium is a necessity and should be used carefully. It is an inexpensive and useful element that should not be played around with because it can cause a lot damage to anyone or anything. It can be used in various ways, so if sodium would not exist, life itself would be totally different . It is unbelievable that an element such as sodium can be very dangerous and at the same time very useful.


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