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No, you CAN'T make sodium!


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#21 Rank0r99

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 10:18 PM

Well it looks like this thread hasen't had a post in a while but this topic realy dose interest me, If I were to do this which I woulden't because im an amature and I dont want molten sodium on my face but anyways; What is the point of making mettalic sodium when sodium in compounds is so much more usefull? How is it made in the industry and why would anyone buy mettalic sodium for anything else than throwing it in water and watching it go boom, if you want to do that get an acid and replace the hydrogen with a reactive metal and light a match, you will probably get acid all over you. With so many other "safe" explosives that are more spectacular than sodium why make it or even use it?:confused:
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#22 Justonium

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Posted 1 May 2010 - 02:45 PM

Sodium metal is very useful for making sodium amide, which can then be used to make azides. Lead azide is one of the most practical primary explosives. Also, the reason people love throwing sodium metal into water so much is because it's fascinating that something will actually react with water, which is normally considered somewhat inert, so vigorously that it explodes. =) When I thew a bunch of sodium beads into water on my driveway, i got lots of cheers from my audience lol.
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#23 smartaman

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 10:50 PM

Try melting NaC sodium carbonate and try performing electrolysis my brain says it will seperate into carbo and sodium metal
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#24 Fuzzwood

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 11:00 PM

If you think sodium carbonate is NaC... I wouldnt even let you have a go cooking for me :doh: It is Na2CO3
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#25 TheLivingMartyr

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:10 PM

Could you not electrolysise molten sodium chloride? i know it would be a hugely high temperature, but could you not theoretically do it?
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#26 mississippichem

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:14 PM

Could you not electrolysise molten sodium chloride? i know it would be a hugely high temperature, but could you not theoretically do it?


Yes. It is in fact the preferred method of mass scale sodium production. They use doping agents to lower the melting temperature though. However, I doubt that anyone does this at the lab scale, liquid sodium chloride is some really nasty stuff.
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#27 TheLivingMartyr

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:16 PM

and anyway, there must be some type of way of extracting sodium from compounds, or how would we get hold of any of it?

oh wait, couldn't you reduce sodium compound with carbon monoxide?

Yes. It is in fact the preferred method of mass scale sodium production. They use doping agents to lower the melting temperature though. However, I doubt that anyone does this at the lab scale, liquid sodium chloride is some really nasty stuff.

ahh yes thanks, i thought there must be some way of doing it
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"When considering any system of science or analysis, three things are crucial. The first of these is Calculus. The second, Calclulus. And the third of these crucial things, is Calculus"

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#28 mississippichem

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:21 PM

and anyway, there must be some type of way of extracting sodium from compounds, or how would we get hold of any of it?

oh wait, couldn't you reduce sodium compound with carbon monoxide?


CO isn't a strong enough reducing agent.  E^o for the reaction [LaTeX Error: Syntax error] is about -2.71 V relative to the standard hydrogen electrode. One would need a really strong reducing agent as the Na metal that would form will be very reducing itself.
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You've come a long way. Remember back when we defined what a velocity meant? Now we are talking about an antisymmetric tensor of second rank in four dimensions.

-Feynman Lectures on Physics II


#29 elementcollector1

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 04:48 AM

In the immortal words of Barack Obama, YES WE CAN. I've made sodium metal several times, the result is impure but works.
In case anyone wants to know how, it was a NaOH and Mg thermite reaction.
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#30 Anders Hoveland

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Posted 5 October 2011 - 02:52 PM

There are at least three other ways to make sodium metal, that do not involve electrolysis.

Aluminum metal can actually reduce sodium hydroxide to sodium metal. Now I realise that many of you chemists will immediately say this is impossible, because "sodium is a more reactive element than aluminum", so here is a link showing pictures of the reaction, but with potassium being made from magnesium, instead of sodium from aluminum. http://sites.google....allic-potassium

It also works if solid NaOH is ignited with Al powder in a metal container, and a lid placed over it to prevent reaction with air. The sodium cannot be obtained in a pure state by this method, however, as it is mixed with slag. But it is still charactaristically reactive with water.
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=908rjHQ5mmc

(6)NaOH + (4)Al --> (2)Al2O3 + (6)Na + (3)H2

but note that
AlCl3 + (3)Na --> (3)NaCl + Al

It is possible to prepare sodium metal by cautiously heating sodium azide in the absence of oxygen.

(2)NaN3 --> (2)Na + (3)N2

Although lithium can burn in nitrogen, both sodium and potassium nitrides are very unstable. Sodium nitride decomposes into elemental sodium, giving off nitrogen gas, at only 87°C.


Comparing the decomposition of other metal nitrides

Similarly, the explosive decomposition of copper azide also results in the separation of the constituent elements, but this reaction happens for very different reasons.

Cu(N3)2 --> Cu + (3)N2

But the same reaction with iron (which is dangerous) will result in iron nitride.

(3)Fe(N3)2 --> Fe3N2 + (8)N2

The iron nitride can be decomposed to elemental iron and nitrogen gas above 800°C.

Fe3N2 --> (3)Fe + N2

The decomposition of calcium azide is similar to that of iron.
Ca(N3)2 decomposes above 110degC, explosively so over 140degC. The Ca3N2 that forms only decomposes at 1600degC, at which point the elemental calcium simultaneously vaporizes out with the nitrogen.


Creative Way to Make Elemental Potassium?

An idea for chemical preparation of elemental potassium, which does not require electric current. It would be impractical, but very creative. Not sure if all the reactions would work.

Ca3N2 + (6)KCl --> (3)CaCl2 + (3)K2 + N2

Distilling calcium nitride with potassium chloride in with steel-walled distillation may cause potassium to boil out. This proposed reaction would make use of Le Chatelier's principle. Although potassium boils at 759°C, it is possible that molten potassium could be produced below this temperature.


(6)CaCl2 + Ti3N4 --> (2)Ca3N2 + (3)TiCl4

The titanium nitride (m.p. 2930°C) would be crushed into a fine powder and distilled under intense heat with calcium chloride. Titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) is a liquid which boils at only 137 °C.


(3)TiI4 + (16)NH3 --> Ti3N4 + (12)NH4I

I think titanium tetraiodide (b.p. 377 °C) could be reacted with anhydrous ammonia gas to form titanium nitride and ammonium iodide. I am not sure if the NH3 could be bubbled into molten TiI4, or if the TiI4 would need to be in the vapor phase, with the intense heat required for the reaction. The reaction would be expected to procede because TiI4 is very acidic, and because the titanium-nitrogen bonds are stronger than titanium-iodide. Wikipedia claims that TiCl4 "with ammonia, titanium nitride is formed"; this is not surprising since TiCl4 reacts with water to form titanium dioxide and hydrogen chloride.

Titanium tetraiodide melts at 150 °C. It can be prepared from easily obtainable materials:
(3) TiO2 + (4) AlI3 --> (3)TiI4 + (2)Al2O3

Edited by Anders Hoveland, 5 October 2011 - 03:04 PM.

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#31 dragonstar57

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 12:03 AM

Could sodium be used as a battery like lithium
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please feel free to point out my grammatical errors. I would rather have them pointed out and be able to perhaps learn from them than continue make the same mistake.

It is not closed-minded to reject claims that make no sense. If you canít accept the possibility that an idea might be false, then you are the closed minded one. An open minded person will critically examine all claims but will not accept them if there is no reason to believe they are true or if there is reason to believe they are false.

however one must realize that every thing starts in a default belief and requires a burden of proof for the default belief to be abandoned. it would not make sense for believing in positive statements' validity so the only remaining is to not believe a positive statement until proof evidence is presented.

#32 John Cuthber

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:45 PM

Could sodium be used as a battery like lithium

Probably only by someone able to understand what "off topic" means
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#33 dragonstar57

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 05:08 PM

Probably only by someone able to understand what "off topic" means

lol IK but I didn't want to start a new thread and its fairly close to the thread topic.

Edited by dragonstar57, 22 October 2011 - 05:09 PM.

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please feel free to point out my grammatical errors. I would rather have them pointed out and be able to perhaps learn from them than continue make the same mistake.

It is not closed-minded to reject claims that make no sense. If you canít accept the possibility that an idea might be false, then you are the closed minded one. An open minded person will critically examine all claims but will not accept them if there is no reason to believe they are true or if there is reason to believe they are false.

however one must realize that every thing starts in a default belief and requires a burden of proof for the default belief to be abandoned. it would not make sense for believing in positive statements' validity so the only remaining is to not believe a positive statement until proof evidence is presented.

#34 Anders Hoveland

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 06:12 PM

I think this thread's title should be changed to "Yes, you CAN make Sodium!", since there exist several different routes to preparing the element sodium, without electric current, two of which have been the subject of much successful experimentation by amateur home chemists.
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#35 The Crow

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 11:44 AM

Heck, if people want boom, why dont they get stuff like NI3. We made it at our school lab and its pretty cool. Explodes on touch.
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#36 dragonstar57

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:04 AM

Heck, if people want boom, why dont they get stuff like NI3. We made it at our school lab and its pretty cool. Explodes on touch.

sounds safe and like something a home chemist would want to handel
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please feel free to point out my grammatical errors. I would rather have them pointed out and be able to perhaps learn from them than continue make the same mistake.

It is not closed-minded to reject claims that make no sense. If you canít accept the possibility that an idea might be false, then you are the closed minded one. An open minded person will critically examine all claims but will not accept them if there is no reason to believe they are true or if there is reason to believe they are false.

however one must realize that every thing starts in a default belief and requires a burden of proof for the default belief to be abandoned. it would not make sense for believing in positive statements' validity so the only remaining is to not believe a positive statement until proof evidence is presented.

#37 Suxamethonium

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 05:54 AM

I have interest in sodium as an organic chemist. Strong bases like sodium amide and alkoxides require sodium metal for any decent yeilds of the reagents. My idea is based on the mercury process for production of sodium hydroxide. I would be insterested in feedback as the method doesn't involve high temperatures or any reactive metals other than the produced sodium which I feel makes it safer (mercury is a much more predictable hazard than highly reactive metals exposed to who knows what at 1000+ degrees C).

I am reluctant to go into detail as I havent had the chance (mercury is hard to come by) to test it and don't want anyone hurting or poisoning themselves trying to copy it.

So just basically, the THEORY behind the method is to:

  • Form the sodium in the mercury as per the mercury cell process for sodium hydroxide production.
  • Collect the amalgam
  • Remove mercury from the amalgam by vacuum leaving behind sodium metal

    The sodium would be contaminated with mercury- but seeing as im using this for reagents thats not so much of a problem as the mercury probs wouldn't react.
I want to re-inforce that this is just an idea that I want feedback on, it may not work and it may be extremely dangerous particularly for amature chemists.
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#38 Sorcerer

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 09:26 AM

With fusion?
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Hi

#39 Anders Hoveland

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Posted 7 February 2012 - 10:50 PM

Posted Image

In above picture, 6.12 g KOH (flakes), 3.12 g Mg, 50 ml Shellsol D70, and 1.02 g 2-methyl-2-butanol are being heated in a sand bath to 200 įC, such a reaction (conducted in the absence of oxygen) can produce globules of metallic potassium after 2 hours.



I have been thinking about the possibility of reducing sodium hydroxide with aluminum foil. So a calculation of the expected enthalpy of formation of such a reaction may be helpful, to get some idea as to whether such a reaction would be expected to be favorable.

The enthalpy of formation for Al2O3 is -1669.8 kJ/mol, while the value for Na2O is -414.2 kJ/mol.

As Al2O3 contains 3 times as many oxygen atoms per mol, 3 times 414.2 equals 1242.6, which is still less than 1669.8, so aluminum has more affinity for oxygen than sodium. And indeed an exothermic thermite reaction between sodium hydroxide and aluminum powder can produce sodium.


The
enthalpy of formation for AlCl3 is -705.63 kJ/mol, while the value for NaCl is -411.12 kJ/mol.

As 3 times 411.12 equals 1233.36, sodium has more affinity for chlorine than aluminum. And indeed, the reduction of aluminum chloride by elemental sodium was first done by H. Sainte-Claire Deville, although H. C. ōrsted had previously used potassium instead.


But of course the interaction with the alcohol would affect the enthalpy of formation, increasing the affinity of sodium for oxygen. A quick estimation of this effect can be made by comparing the enthalpy of formation for sodium hydroxide, which is no doubt even more favorable than sodium alkoxides (sodium alkoxides vigorously hydrolyse with water).

NaOH -425.93 kJ/mol
H2O -285.83 kJ/mol
Na2O is -414.2 kJ/mol

So the hydration of sodium oxide to anhydrous sodium hydroxide should release 151.83 kJ for each mole of Na2O reacted.
Na2O + H2O --> 2 NaOH

So it can be inferred that the presence of tert-butanol would not significantly affect the affinity of sodium for oxygen, meaning that the reduction of a sodium alkoxide by aluminum should still be energetically favorable.


The competing affinities between sodium and aluminum for fluorine apparently is more complicated:

It will be noted that when aluminum fluoride is in excess to that contained in cryolite (NaF)6Al2F6, aluminum does not reduce sodium fluoride, and on the other hand, when sodium fluoride is in excess, aluminum does reduce sodium fluoride.
Metallurgical and Chemical engineering, Volume 11, p178 (1913)


Edited by Anders Hoveland, 7 February 2012 - 11:00 PM.

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#40 elementcollector1

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 09:24 PM

If you wish to remove mercury from sodium, distillation is your best option. Mercury boils at 357 C, while sodium boils much higher at 883 C. A good hotplate can easily achieve 360 C, and a ground-glass setup would probably help. Plus, you get your mercury back!
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