Wikijunior:The Elements/Sodium

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Shows the position of Sodium on the periodic chart.
Sodium's symbol on the Periodic Table

What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like?[edit | edit source]

Pure sodium is a soft and silvery metal. Sodium is prevented from contact with the air and water and kept by immersion in oil, because it tarnishes very quickly when exposed to air. It is so soft that you could cut it with a butter knife.

How was it discovered?[edit | edit source]

Sodium was isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1807 from sodium hydroxide.

Where did its name come from?[edit | edit source]

Sodium gets its name from the English soda. In Latin it was called natrium.

Did You Know?

  • Sodium is the sixth most abundant element overall.
  • Sodium is the most abundant alkali metal, in the first column of the periodic table.
  • Sodium ions taste salty in flavor.

Where is it found?[edit | edit source]

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?[edit | edit source]

This Beaker Contains Table Salt which is made from Sodium and Chlorine

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?[edit | edit source]

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.

References[edit | edit source]