What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like?
Pure sodium is a soft and silvery metal. Sodium is prevented from contact with the air and water by immersion in oil. It is so soft that you could cut it with a butter knife.
How was it discovered?
Sodium was isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1807 from sodium hydroxide.
Where did its name come from?
Sodium gets its name from the English soda. In Latin it was called natrium.
Where is it found?
The most common compound of sodium is sodium chloride, better known as salt, which can be found in seawater and in the mineral halite. Sodium is relatively common in stars. Because sodium is highly reactive, it is never found in its pure state in nature.
What are its uses?
We use sodium every day. Sodium chloride is used to help flavor food in the form of table salt. Sodium is also found in sodium bicarbonate, also called baking soda. Sodium is also used in most soaps and detergents (although some, such as those in shaving cream, use potassium instead.)
Sodium is also required by the body for proper blood, brain cell action, heart activity, and more. It is so important that animals and people are adapted to tasting sodium. Sodium is salty.
Is it dangerous?
Sodium is highly reactive and may ignite on contact with water. It can even cause an explosion. The strong alkali sodium hydroxide — also called lye — is very corrosive and should never be touched, as it can cause severe chemical burns; neither should solutions of it.
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