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What metal doesn't react with sodium? Answered

I am trying to make sodium. I used graphite and copper wire at the anodes and cathodes. Both of them combine with the sodium and corode. That leaves me with 0% sodium.



Its amazing how many people have ignored this perfect answer. Use a Downs cell, and vent the chlorine.....

Just checked on it and the charcoal is silver(maybe sodium), black, and gold. And the nail is covered in rust.

I have been using sodium acetate and performing electrolisis on it. I am not sure what is happening, but it will oxidise anything i use for the cathode. I think it is oxidising but i am not sure. It turned what i think is an iron nail into a rust color. Also could I use charcoal as the carbon for the down cell? Also it made part of the charcoal a goldish color.

For the down cell, is that molten salt?

It is possible to electrolyze an NaCl solution and obtain Na metal but it has to be done under the proper conditions.  The cathode must be mercury metal (!) in order to form a mercury-sodium amalgam, and the solution must be almost saturated with NaCl.

Otherwise, molten NaCl must be used.  A specially-treated titanium electrode is used commercially.  I think graphite can be used but I don't know the details.  Obviously you've run into one problem with corrosion.  There may be others.

Sodium hydroxide melts at a lower temperature than NaCl but the thought of working with molten NaOH gives me the shivers---and I've taught chemistry for 30+ years.

One of NurdRage's videos has molten NaOH in it. Mentioned in case you might enjoy being scared by it from a safe distance. Here:

BTW:  Supposing it were molten NaOH being electrolyzed,  what products would I get at the anode? The reaction below is a guess.

anode reaction:   4 0H-(l)    --> H2O(g) + O2(g) +  4 e-      ?

Could there actually be steam comming off this thing too?

I am using sodium acetate and i think that when the sodium is separated it combines with the graphite.

Then why don't you read the "related I'bles" immediately to the right of all of these comments?

You can't make sodium. It's an element. What are you trying to extract it from?

Well, the OP could turn out to be on a reality TV show.  Whether that make him/her/it a star is open to debate...

Tsk, tsk.  And to think that I have to complain about someone being overly pedantic...

Of course you can "make" sodium metal.  That's been the common term for separating an element from a compound for at least a couple of centuries.  You make hydrogen and oxygen by electrolyzing water.

Quite so, but the actual point of the (somewhat terse) response was that the sodium compound you start with makes a difference in the process.

Are you using molten-salt or not?
(see below where Jack A Lopez has posted a diagram)


Helium isn't a metal.  Not even astronomers think so :-/

<hangs head in shame>

Forgot to put my thinking cap on. Somehow saw He sitting just below hydrogen in the periodic table in my head

Helium is a noble gas, helium is a noble gas, helium is a noble gas

It used to be a metal. I mean it used to be presumed to be a metal. That's how it got the suffix -ium.  Non metals have suffixes like -n and -ine.  In retrospect, they should have named it helion, or heligen,  instead.

Sorry, but your going to have to melt NaCl to do this, otherwise, your just going to be electrolyzing the water your salt is dissolved in. NaCl melts at around 800 degrees Celsius, so your better off buying sodium.

Heres where you can buy sodium metal:


Check the Wikipedia article for a detailed explanation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downs_cell.

Well, if you want a metal that doesn't react with Na, you could try all of the other elements in columns 1 and 2 and probably most other metals under most circumstances.
What is your setup? Does it have water(if it has water, that will never work)?

If you really want sodium, you would be better off buying it methinks.

Watch for Lemonie on this, chemistry is his thing.