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Sodium is naturally found in many edible items.
It is a mineral that is not paid much attention to. However, it is something that can have positive as well as negative effects on our body depending on the amount consumed.
Apart from being a mineral, it is an element in itself. Even though the element sodium can exist alone, it is mostly found paired with another element forming sodium compounds. Sodium is a very interesting element to know about because of its use in daily life and its scientific properties. Read on to discover loads of facts regarding sodium metal.
The element sodium is something that can be found in many ways all around us. So, let's find out more about this ever-present element.
Liquid or molten sodium can act as a coolant and is used to cool nuclear reactors. The company, Hitachi that created a few of the reactors, states that utilizing a metal to cool the reactor can be a good choice as it adds a safety feature to it. Metallic sodium in its liquid form can conduct as well as dissipate heat.
People can also overdose on sodium. In 2013, a 19-year-old individual was admitted to the hospital after he consumed a bottle of soy sauce. The doctors reported that the high amount of sodium in the body made the water in the brain move to the bloodstream. This caused seizures and unconsciousness. Fortunately, he was saved through medical treatment and did not sustain any lasting damage to his body.
Sodium was also used in the process of mummification. Mummification is where the dead body of a person is preserved for various reasons. A mineral that helps with this process is a sodium compound. Moreover, while some sodium compounds are naturally present in the world, others are deliberately made by humans for a range of purposes.
The reaction of sodium with air can produce a bright, almost neon yellow, flame. Street lamps have a similar yellow glow to that caused by the reaction between sodium and air. Sodium as a free element isn't naturally found but rather pure sodium metal is derived from its compounds through various chemical reactions.
Sodium is an element in the periodic table and as such, it has certain scientific properties which are listed below.
Sodium's chemical symbol is Na. This symbol, Na, represents the element sodium in the periodic table. Moreover, when chemistry students or scientists are writing chemical reactions, they use the symbol Na to denote the element just like how for other elements there are different chemical symbols.
The atomic number of sodium is 11. It is the number of protons present in an element. The atomic weight of pure sodium is 22.98976928u and its density is less than a gram. Since the density of sodium is lower than water, it floats on the surface of water.
The existing state of metallic sodium at room temperature is solid. In this state, sodium is considered to be a silvery-white metal. The melting point of sodium is 208.04 F (97.80 C) and its boiling point is 1,621 F (883 C). Sodium has only one stable isotope.
Sodium is an alkali metal that can be found on the leftmost part of the periodic table where other alkali metals are also present. Being an alkali metal means the outermost shell of the atoms of this element will only have one electron present in it. This means that other elements with incomplete outer shells that need only one electron to be completed will be highly attracted to sodium and other alkali metals.
This is one of the reasons why sodium is always present in a compound state. Some of the well-known compounds of sodium are sodium hydroxide, sodium chloride, sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium nitrate, and sodium peroxide.
Sodium hydroxide is the product formed when pure sodium reacts with water. The chemical reaction not only produces sodium hydroxide but also hydrogen gas and heat. The hydrogen gas is said to explode due to the intensity of the heat. Sodium hydroxide has both hydrogen and sodium ions.
Research is currently being conducted on sodium carbonate. This study is focusing on the possibility of sodium carbonate reducing global warming. The researchers have formed a capsule of sodium carbonate powder which resembles caviar. The capsules are said to have the ability to absorb carbon dioxide which means that they can be used to clean the greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and power plant emissions.
As we have already discussed, sodium is almost never freely found; it is always present in a compound form with another element but do you know about the sodium compounds that we make use of in our everyday life?
The very basic compound of sodium that is present in every single household and is a very significant part of the cooking process is sodium chloride. We all know this compound by its common laymen name which is table salt. Sodium chloride consists of sodium and chlorine. Often, sodium is used as a synonym for table salt.
Another compound of sodium is sodium bicarbonate which is commonly known as baking soda. It is yet another compound that is used in cooking, especially baking. Baking soda helps make bread fluff up. Meanwhile, sodium hydroxide is commonly called caustic soda or lye. It is a basic ingredient in household cleaners such as drain cleaners. It is also used to make soaps.
Sodium isn't just an element present with other elements in various day-to-day objects we make use of. It also has its effects on our health.
Sodium is naturally present in many of the food items we eat on a daily basis. While some food items have a high quantity of sodium, some have a low quantity. Eating sodium can actually be beneficial for our health. Our bodies require a certain amount of sodium present in the blood to function properly.
If the sodium levels in the body get low, it can cause heat cramping. This condition is seen in athletes when they experience muscle seizures due to overexertion. When we sweat, sodium ions are removed from our bodies through salt water. Since sweating can increase when exercising, it is possible for sodium levels in the body to fall and for the muscles to cramp.
Therefore, proper sodium levels should be maintained in the body. It regulates the fluid balance in the cells of organisms such as humans and animals. Sodium also helps to regulate blood pressure levels in the body. However, high levels of sodium can cause blood pressure levels to rise which can further lead to various health-related issues. Prolonged high sodium levels in the body can result in problems such as high blood pressure disease and cardiovascular problems.
Like any other element, sodium was also discovered by humans who then studied it before adding it to the periodic table.
It was Humphry Davy, an English chemist, who first discovered sodium in 1807. In the previous year, that is 1806, Humphry had found that chemical bonding had an electrical nature. Moreover, he also realized that he could use electrical charges to break the bond and separate the basic chemical elements present. He first separated potassium from one of its compounds and then moved to sodium.
Humphry had used three large batteries that he himself had built during the electrolysis process. He conducted electrolysis on dried sodium hydroxide which was only slightly moistened. When the process was complete, he was able to isolate the element of sodium from the rest of the chemical compound. The sodium accumulated in liquid form on the electrodes, and Humphry noted that on cooling, the liquid transformed to a somewhat shiny, solid element.
He further observed that when this new element was added to water, it lead to the decomposition of water and releasing of hydrogen gas. After a discussion with fellow scientists and researchers, Humphry classified sodium as a metal. Moreover, since he had used caustic soda to conduct the experiment, he named the new element as sodium.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 109 facts about sodium explained for kids to understand then why not take a look at are magnets metal? or characteristics of alkali metals.
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