Sodium (Na)

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Sodium 11Na22.989

Isolated by Sir Humphry Davy in 1807 at the Royal Institution, London, England.

[Latin, natrium; English, soda]

French: sodium
German: Natrium
Italian: sodio
Spanish: sodio

Description: Sodium is a soft, silvery-white, metal which oxidises rapidly when cut, and reacts vigorously with water. It is produced in large quantities by the electrolysis of molten sodiumchloride. Sodium metal is used in industry in the manufacture of other chemicals and metals. It is also used in heat exchangers for nuclear reactors.


Further Materials properties


Crystal structure:

(cell dimensions/pm), space group, 
α-Na hexagonal (a=376.7, c=615.4), P63/mmc
β-Na b.c.c. (a=429.06), Im3m
T (b.c.c. -> hexagonal) = 5 K

X-ray diffractions mass absorption coefficients: CuKa 30.1 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKa 3.21 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 0.358 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 0.530 sa / barns
Density: 971 kg/m-3 [293 K]; 928 [liquid at m.p.]
Melting point: 97.81°C / 370.96°K
Boiling point: 882.95°C / 1156.1°K
Molar volume: 23.68 cm3
Thermal conductivity: 141 [300 K] W m-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 70.6 x 10-6 K-1
Electrical resistivity: 4.2 x 10-8 [273 K] Ωm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: +8.8 x 10-9(s) kg-1m3
Radi: Na+ 98; atomic 154; van der Waals 231
Electronegativity: 0.93 (Pauling); 1.01 (Allred); 2.85 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 2.20 (Slater); 2.51 (Clementi); 3.21 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 14
Isotope mass range: 19-> 31



Biological data


Biological role: Essential to most species including humans.
Toxic intake: chloride, oral, human = 12 g kg-1
Lethal intake: LD50 (chloride, oral, rat) = 3000 mg kg-1
Hazards: Sodium compounds are not hazardous insofar as their sodium content is concerned, but excess sodium chloride can be toxic by ingestion. A daily intake in excess of the necessary 2-3g is not advisable for those people suffering heart disease.
Level in humans
Blood: 1970 mg dm-3
Bone: 10 000 ppm
Liver: 2000 - 4000 ppm
Muscle: 2600 - 7800 ppm
Daily dietary intake: 2 - 15 g 
Total mass of element in average
[70 kg] person:

100 g 

Geological data


Minerals:Sodium occurs in many minerals but these are not mined as a source of sodium.
MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Halite (rock salt)  NaCl 2.168  2  cub., vit. usually colourless
Trona  Na3(CO3)(HCO3).2H2O 2.14  2.5 - 3  mon., vit. colourless

Chief ores: halite, trona
World production: c. 200 000 (sodium metal); 168 x 106 (sodium carbonate) tonnes/year
Main mining areas: halite in Germany, Poland, USA, UK; trona in Kenya, USA
Reserves: almost unlimited
Specimen: available as ingots or lumps, in sealed ampoules under nitrogen, or spheres and stick stored under mineral oil. Warning!


Sun: 1.91 x 106 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 23 000 ppm
Seawater 10 500 ppm
Residence time: 1 x 108  years
Classification: accumulating
Oxidation state: I

  Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

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Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

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