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Sodium ( Na )

Material Information

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General Description:  

Sodium was discovered in 1807 by Sir Humphrey Davy in London.

Sodium is a soft, silvery coloured metal which, like other members of the alkali group of metals, is extremely reactive. As for the other members of the group, it can be prepared by electrolysis of the fused halide or hydroxide. Along with potassium, it is one of the more common alkali metals, there being 28300 ppm in the earth's crust, primarily as the carbonate, chloride or nitrate.

Molten sodium is used as a heat exchanger in certain types of nuclear reactors and as a reagent in the chemicals industry. Some of the sodium salts e.g. NaCl and NaCO3) are more important than the metal itself due to the variety of applications for which they can be used.

Sodium is an essential element for all living species, including humans, although there is an element of controversy concerning the amount required. An average human body contains around 100 gms of sodium which are lost in various ways and have to be replenished. The average human consumes approximately 10 gms of salt per day although only around 3 gms are actually needed and an excess can contribute to high blood pressure. Sodium performs several functions within the body including the regulation of the water content in the blood and tissue and the transmission of electrical impulses.

   

Atomic Properties

Atomic number 11
Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.192
Atomic weight ( amu ) 22.99
Crystal structure Body centred cubic
Electronic structure Ne 3s1
Ionisation potential No. eV
1 5.14
2 47.30
3 71.64
4 98.91
5 138.39
6 172.15
Natural isotope distribution Mass No. %
23 100
Photo-electric work function ( eV ) 212
Thermal neutron absorption cross-section ( Barns ) 0.54
Valences shown 1

Electrical Properties

Electrical resistivity @27C ( µOhmcm ) 4.9
Temperature coefficient @0-100C ( K-1 ) 0.0055

Physical Properties

Boiling point ( C ) 883
Density @20C ( g cm-3 ) 0.97
Melting point ( C ) 97.8

Thermal Properties

Coefficient of thermal expansion @0-100C ( x10-6 K-1 ) 71
Latent heat of evaporation ( J g-1 ) 4260
Latent heat of fusion ( J g-1 ) 113
Thermal conductivity @0-100C ( W m-1 K-1 ) 128

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