Drop this thing in water and Ka-boom! Combine it with chlorine and you will get table salt – something that you cannot live without! Ladies and gentlemen, we are talking of Sodium – an element in the periodic table and of course, one of the most abundant elements on earth. In this article, we are going to learn 25 boring sodium facts. Boring because, they are really boring. You will really need them if you are preparing for your school exams, else they are just facts that you will not really need in daily life.
So, we humbly request you to give us the opportunity to bore you today and walk out without being beaten up! But before we start, let us take a quick look at the basic facts and figures of the element – you know – all those nasty numbers…
|Name of element||Sodium|
|Configuration of Electrons||1s22s22p63s1|
|Melting Point||370.944 K or 208.029 °F or 97.794 °C|
|Boiling Point||1156.090 K or 1621.292 °F or 882.940 °C|
|State in Room Temperature (20°C)||Solid|
|Vaporization Heat||97.42 kj/mol|
|Critical Point||2573 K at 35 MPa|
|Element Family||Alkali Metal|
Boring Sodium Facts: 1-5
1. It was Sir Humphry Davy who successfully discovered Sodium in year 1807. What he did was that he isolated Sodium from Sodium Hydroxide.
2. As of today, there are 21 isotopes of Sodium. Of these 21, only three are natural while the remaining have been created in laboratory. The artificially created 17 isotopes are radioactive by nature.
3. The natural isotopes of Sodium are 22Na, 23Na and 24 These three isotopes are stable. Let us take a quick look at the features of these three isotopes in small tables.
|Decays Into||22Ne by using β+ decay|
|Half Life||2.6 years|
|Decays Into||24Mg by β- decay|
|Half Life||14.96 hours|
4. Did you know that there was a time when Sodium was actually used as a medicine for curing a really irritating problem – headache?
5. When it comes to abundance, Sodium is the sixth (6th) most abundant element that you can find on planet Earth.
Boring Sodium Facts: 6-10
6. Okay, though Sodium is Earth’s 6th most abundant element, it actually makes up less than 3% of the crust of our Earth.
7. Since the density of Sodium is less than the density of water, it can actually float on water.
8. Sodium is a shiny, soft and malleable solid at normal temperature or room temperature. Malleable simply means that you hammer the element, it will not break but will rather change shape.
9. Just how soft is Sodium? It is soft enough to be cut into pieces using a simple butter knife and you can actually cut through it at room temperature.
10. Talking of abundance again, in human body, it is the 9th most abundant element. Actually 0.15% of human body is made up of this element.
Boring Sodium Facts: 11-15
11. When Sodium burns, a bright yellow light is produced. Fireworks that produce yellow light use Sodium as an ingredient.
12. Talking of the yellow light, do you know why yellow street lights produce yellow light? Because they use the method of ionizing vapors of Sodium.
13. In many fast nuclear reactors, the medium used for transferring heat is molten Sodium.
14. Sodium never occurs as free element in nature. It is always present in form of a compound as it reacts with some other element. The most abundant Sodium compound is Sodium Chloride.
15. Sodium is an important component when it comes to manufacturing soaps.
Boring Sodium Facts: 16-20
16. Elemental Sodium cannot exist freely. It is highly reactive because of a single electron present it its outermost shell. This is the reason why, when Sodium comes in contact with air, it reacts with oxygen to form Sodium Oxide.
17. Common Salt or Sodium Chloride was actually used a currency and was more commonly used for paying workers. For a good worker, it was said that the “man is worth his salt”. The term salary actually came from Sodium.
18. The Latin name of Sodium is Natrium. The symbol Na is derived from that name. The term Natrium actually came from a Greek work called Nitron.
19. We use a wide range of Sodium compounds in our daily life. For example, Borax is widely used in cosmetics and detergents. Then there is baking soda or Sodium Bicarbonate, which is used for leavening baked goods and bread. Again, there is deli meat which requires Sodium Nitrite as preservative. We cannot forget common salt, can we?
20. Human body requires Sodium for proper functioning. It acts an electrolyte in body and helps to maintain fluid balance in our body. It also helps to maintain proper heart and nervous system function in our body.
Boring Sodium Facts: 21-25
21. Compounds containing Sodium have been in use for long times (since ancient times). For example, Natron was a substance that the ancient Egyptians used for mummification. Natron was basically a mixture of naturally occurring Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) and Sodium Carbonate (soda ash).
22. Since Sodium helps to maintain water balance in our body, it actually helps in maintaining blood pressure in our body.
23. In Tanzania, there is a lake known as Lake Natron. It has natural deposit of Sodium Carbonate, which makes the lake totally alkaline. Animals that die at the lake get mummified by the natural Sodium Carbonate.
24. Because pure Sodium is highly reactive, it is not stored normally. It is usually stored by immersing in liquid hydrocarbon such as kerosene.
25. When Sodium is dropped in water, a spectacular reaction takes place. The resulting compound is Sodium Hydroxide. Apart from the compound, both heat and hydrogen gas is produced. The heat produced is extreme and it ignites the hydrogen gas that is produced as a byproduct gets ignited. This is an explosive ignition.