How to Make Metallic Sodium




Introduction: How to Make Metallic Sodium

Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na (from Latin: natrium) in the periodic table and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. The free metal does not occur in nature, but instead must be prepared from its compounds; it was first isolated by Humphry Davy in 1807 by the electrolysis of sodium hydroxide.

Given its extraordinary chemical reactivity, there are multiple applications for this substance. Preparing it via electrolysis is the easiest way to go, however we need to use a molten sodium hydroxide electrolyte, as the resulting sodium would react with the water in an aqueous solution. Not that hard to do, as NaOH melts at 318 °C . The temperature is reasonably low to allow the separation of the resulting sodium without spontaneous ignition in air, but extra caution must be exercised as the chemicals involved are highly caustic, especially at high temperatures.

More details and photos here:

Step 1:

Step 1: prepare a ceramic container. There are various choices here, from ceramic light bulb sockets, to light spot ceramic connectors.

Step 2:

Step 2: insert two steel screws are electrodes.

Step 3:

Step 3: add some sodium hydroxide, melt it superficially using a butane torch, and connect the electrodes to a high current voltage supply



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    9 Discussions

    will a 9v battery work?

    Because the idea is to separate the ions according to their electric charge.

    Is it must be a ceramic. Can I use a metal like aluminium containor

    2 replies

    aluminium no, as NaOH will react with it if there is any water. Instead you can use a steel container.