Instructables
video Making Sodium Metal
Watch this video to see my improved process for making sodium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faorfmRkCv0&feature=response_watch

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This is one way sodium metal can be synthesized using NaOH and Mg. Mg, being a more reactive chemical than sodium at high temperature with oxygen, breaks down the NaOH, leaving ingots of elemental sodium within the ash.

2Mg + 2NaOH = 2MgO + 2Na + H2

Thanks to NurdRage for the equation.
www.youtube.com/NurdRage

Hi, the magnesium burns at a high temperature, (3100 deg C) so maybe it is decomposing the sodium hydroxide to sodium oxide. Sodium oxide reacts violently with water to from sodium hydroxide which could look very like the reaction of sodium with water

NightHawkInLight (author)  cairnterrier1214 hours ago
I have heard that explanation before, but I have been able to collect sizable chunks of what is clearly sodium metal from this process. Soft, pliable metal that reacts instantly with water, not a grainy crumbly oxide.

See: http://youtu.be/faorfmRkCv0?t=3m2s
And: http://youtu.be/seSg_GWj1b0?t=2m51s
Very dangerous but so is flying- as long as you have safe ignition and gloves + goggles all's well when cooking.... Thought electrolysis was the only way, that in its self is dangerous using molten hydroxides.

I Believe this method works in a similar way as the Hans Goldsmidt approach and used to refine many metals- By employing a reducing metal Such as Al /Mg-as long as there is an oxidised metal it will work even Plaster of Paris.......

Having tried this it's very exothermic and slightly noxious but it works well --only a competent and brave and possibly certifiable soul carry out experiments like these.....guess that means me too...,..

Gujkil3 years ago
@NightHawkInLight,

if you look at the Standard electrode potential, you can not reduce sodium hydroide with magnesium, look at here -->
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_electrode_potential_%28data_page%29
Are there any other methodes to make sodium? I ahve not magnesium powder at home ;)

Mert
NightHawkInLight (author)  Gujkil3 years ago
This is not a typical redox reaction. If it were, the reaction would be:

Mg + 2NaOH = Mg(OH)2 + 2Na

That reaction cannot occur naturally from left to right. The actual reaction taking place is:

2Mg + 2NaOH = 2MgO + 2Na + H2
NaOH has an a enthalpy change of formation of −734.95 kJ / mo
MgO has an enthalpy change of formation of only -601.24 kJ / mo

Hence, the reaction can not work under standard conditions, it would violate the second law of thermodynamics if it did.

The reaction
4Mg + 4NaOH + 1O(2) -> 4MgO + 4Na + 2(H20) might work

But I suspect the actual reaction is something like
2Mg +3 NaOH + O2 -> Na3H(Mg2O4) + H20

Have you been able to confirm that sodium metal actually exists in the end reaction, and not something that reacts like sodium exists? (Density, Melting Point?)

(Note: The enthalpy change of formation depends on things like pressure and temperature and hence you might get the reaction under certain conditions. For example, if the NaOH were in a gas state under pressure the reaction would become more favorable but I don't think you could change the formation enthalpy enough for the reaction to work)
NightHawkInLight (author)  mschwebs3 years ago
I really have no idea how this works in terms of thermodynamics. I could probably think up some idea for how the energy might move around if I spent enough time on it, but it would be total guess work. I have a very basic understanding of the chemistry but that's it.

You can view another go at the reaction here which yields solid ingots:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-Sodium-Metal-Sodium-Extraction/

You can also view an HD remake of this video here, though a much lower quality product is obtained due to my rush to finish the video:
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Sodium-Metal/

I have seen a very high quality product extracted from the slag via heating under high temp brake fluid. No absolutely definitive lab testing has been done that I know of to prove this is actually sodium, but it behaves in every way I have seen to be the real deal. Not only that, but I have been told by much more knowledgeable chemists than myself that this reaction should work for even more reactive metals bound to a hydroxide, such as potassium.

Again, I understand how this reaction bypasses the reactivity series by not involving the metal itself in the reaction, but how it operates regarding enthalpies is above my head.
But I have ask my teacher. He said that the electrons etc. are right, but Magnesium is noble as Sodium. He said that is a ReDox reaction, but is must not work.
NightHawkInLight (author)  Gujkil3 years ago
Whether your teacher believes it or not, I can assure you it does work. I prove it in the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faorfmRkCv0

Your teacher can try it for himself.
lemonie4 years ago
Fun!
Where did you get the Mg?
I reckon ~ a 3:5 ratio by volume?

L
NightHawkInLight (author)  lemonie4 years ago
I buy Mg through a personal contact. It has strict shipping requirements which makes it hard to acquire online. I use stoichiometric ratios, everything is measured by mass. Aluminum should also work in this reaction, but of course would require new measurements.
so can you replace the magnesium with alumium? maby could i get it from a soda can and grind it. And cool vid
Every thing is measured by mass didn't spring out of the video, but I guessed you were doing it by eye (knowing what that weight looked-like?
W'ref Al - alumina is very different stuff you might get a better result overall?

L
NightHawkInLight (author)  lemonie4 years ago
When I preformed the experiment in this video I was still unsure of the reaction involved. It was the first and last time I measured by volume. I gave it a good guess. In my second video I measure much more accurately.
ac1D4 years ago
You are so Dangerous!
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ac1D ac1D4 years ago

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NightHawkInLight (author)  ac1D4 years ago
I am not a 'kid'. I am an experienced and respected firework builder, welder, and inventor. I have already discussed all the bs about propane on YouTube where this was originally posted and don't care enough to explain the misconceptions again to you.
Easy...
NightHawkInLight (author)  troseph4 years ago
Yes, I apologize. If you want more info as to why the lighter and propane cylinder are not dangerous near the reaction vessel check the video comments on YouTube.
Don't feel mad, this message was not against yourself, but to prevent kid(yes, most of the person here are kid) to do this mistake if they try this.
NightHawkInLight (author)  ac1D4 years ago
I see. Those are good intentions.