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 40 awesome sodium facts. 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, but it is good to know them.
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|
|Element Structure||Body centered-cubic (bcc)|
|Atomic Radius||186 pm or picometers|
Sodium Facts: Isotopes of Sodium
|Isotope Name||Type and Abundance||Half-Life|
|18Na||Radioactive||1.3 * 10-21 s|
|23Na||Stable and 100% abundance||Stable so no half-life|
|36Na||Radioactive||< 180 ns|
|37Na||Radioactive||> 60 ns|
Sodium Facts: 1-5
1. It was Sir Humphry Davy who successfully discovered Sodium in 1807. What he did was that he isolated Sodium from Sodium Hydroxide through electrolysis.
2. In 1809. Ludwig Wilhelm Gilbert, a German chemist and physicist proposed the name Natronium for ‘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.
3. As of today, there are 21 isotopes of Sodium. Of these 21, only three are natural while the remaining have been created in a laboratory. The artificially created 17 isotopes are radioactive by nature.
4. The natural isotopes of Sodium are 22Na, 23Na and 24Na. Of these three isotopes, only one is 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|
5. Did you know that there was a time when Sodium was used as a medicine for curing a really irritating problem – headache?
Sodium Facts: 6-10
6. When it comes to abundance, Sodium is the sixth (6th) most abundant element that you can find on planet Earth.
7. Okay, though Sodium is Earth’s 7th most abundant element, it actually makes up less than 3% of the crust of our Earth. It is the 5th most abundant metal after calcium, magnesium, iron, and aluminum.
8. Talking of abundance again, in the human body, it is the 9th most abundant element. 0.15% of the human body is made up of this element.
10. Some comets also have sodium tail and sodium is observed even in the atmosphere of extrasolar planets.
Sodium Facts: 11-20
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Elemental Sodium cannot exist freely. It is highly reactive because of a single electron present in its outermost shell. This is the reason why, when Sodium comes in contact with air, it reacts with oxygen to form Sodium Oxide.
14. Because pure Sodium is highly reactive, it is not stored normally. It is usually stored by immersing in liquid hydrocarbons such as kerosene or in inert gas.
15. It is a good conductor of electricity and heat because there is only one electron in the valence shell.
Sodium Facts: 16-20
16. Since the density of Sodium is less than the density of water, it can actually float on water.
17. When Sodium burns, a bright yellow light is produced. Fireworks that produce yellow light use Sodium as an ingredient.
18. 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.
19. Sodium never occurs as a free element in nature. It is always present in the form of a compound as it reacts with some other element. The most abundant Sodium compound is Sodium Chloride.
20. As mentioned sodium readily bonds with other elements. Some of the salts and oxides of sodium are table salt (NaCl), baking soda (NaHCo3), borax (Na2B4O7.10H2O), etc.
Sodium Facts: 21-25
22. Sodium bonds with carbon and forms organosodium compounds. Some of the famous organosodium compounds are trityl sodium, Sodium naphthalenide, etc.
23. 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).
24. In Tanzania, there is a lake known as Lake Natron. It has a natural deposit of Sodium Carbonate, which makes the lake totally alkaline. Animals that die at the lake get mummified by the natural Sodium Carbonate.
25. Sodium products like sodium chloride (table salt), sodium carbonate (soda ash), hydroxide (caustic soda), etc. are produced in millions of tons annually.
Sodium Facts: 26-30
26. Common Salt or Sodium Chloride was actually used as 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.
27. Sodium is an important component when it comes to manufacturing soaps.
28. 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.
29. Sodium hydride is used as a base for multiple reactions in organic chemistry. The production of sodium azide, sodium borohydride, indigo, etc. use metallic sodium.
30. Sodium vapor or plasma is used in street lights in various cities of the world.
Sodium Facts: 31-35
31. Did you know that sodium is a desiccant? It means that it absorbs any water molecules present near to its vicinity.
32. In many fast nuclear reactors, the medium used for transferring heat is molten Sodium.
33. Human body requires Sodium for proper functioning. Our body requires 120 mg of sodium everyday for newborns and upto 500 mg of salt everyday from the age of 10.
34. Since Sodium helps to maintain water balance in our body, it actually helps in maintaining blood pressure in our body.
35. According to the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the upper level of salt intake is 2.3 grams a day. However, an average American consumes 3.4 grams of salt everyday.
Sodium Facts: 36-40
36. There is a connection between high blood pressure and excess consumption of sodium. If a hypertensive patient consumes less salt, his blood pressure also decreases.
37. Sodium is a micronutrient in plants and helps in the production of chlorophyll in plastids. In some other plants, it takes the role of potassium some times. If there is excess of sodium in soil, then it decreases the water potential, leads to enzyme inhibition, chlorosis, and eventually necrosis.
38. 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.
40. The cost of a kilogram of bulk sodium is 2 to 3 USD and the cost of a kilogram of pure sodium is 25 USD.