Sodium is a metal of the alkaline family and belongs to group 1 in the periodic table. In the world, it’s classified as the sixth most abundant element, and it’s incredibly reactive. Sodium appears as a bright reflective metal with a waxy metallic texture and a silver color. Unlike some metals, sodium is known to have a low boiling point. This metal is essential in the function system of plants, animals, and humans. For example, in humans, sodium regulates the amount of fluid running in the cells. It is also known to be a very reactive metal, and when it reacts with water, it forms a solid base, which is sodium hydroxide.
1. Manufacture of sodium cyanide
In the manufacturing process of sodium cyanide, sodium hydroxide, which is also referred to as the caustic soda solution, is used. The hydrogen cyanide gas is combined with sodium hydroxide resulting in the production of sodium cyanide.
2. Manufacture of Sodium peroxide
On large-scale production, sodium peroxide is manufactured or preferably prepared by simply reacting sodium metal with oxygen at 130-200 degrees Celsius.
3. Used to cure some diseases in its different form
Sodium, when reacted with chlorine, forms sodium chloride, which becomes a compound of sodium and is used to cure sore throat, dry eye syndrome, and mouth sores, among other conditions. This compound is also known as a saline solution.
4. Used as a reducing agent
Both magnesium and aluminum have used sodium as a reducing agent where they have been separated from their compounds by sodium.
5. Prevents Kidney toxicity
Sodium is taken in the body in the form of sodium chloride, which is then used to prevent kidney toxicity that is majorly caused by a drug known as amphotericin B.
6. Used as a coolant in liquid-metal fast breeder reactors
Coolants include water, liquid sodium, and liquid lead, among others. Each of these mentioned coolants has various properties that enhance them for that role. For example, liquid sodium is used as a coolant because it does not corrode stainless steel and because it has a high power density. Besides, sodium is used because it has a vet high thermal conductivity that does not increase temperatures.
7. Used as table salt
Sodium has many compounds, and here one, referred to as salt, is the sodium chloride compound. Sodium chloride is used as a flavor that gives food taste. It is also used to eradicate bacteria in foods by killing them, acting as a food preservative.
8. Used for baking soda
Sodium metal has another compound known as sodium carbonate, which is also known as baking soda. This sodium compound is used in soap, glass, and paper making, among others.
9. Used in the production of sodium hydride
Caustic soda, which is sodium hydroxide, is used in the process of manufacturing sodium hydride. In another process, normally, sodium metal is reacted with hydrogen to form sodium hydride.
10. Used in streets light
Sodium vapor is naturally reacted or combined with some electric current to produce a yellow light used in the street lamps. Sodium is used in many street bulbs, but it has to be converted into vapor or gas and later injected into the light bulbs. When an electric current is passed through the bulbs injected with sodium vapor, then there is a yellowish glow to light the bulbs.
11. Manufactures organic compounds and esters
Sodium is used in the hydrolysis of esters since it’s an alkali just like potassium hydroxide is. So sodium is used here in its hydroxide state. In the saponification process, sodium hydroxide is very critical as the process leads to the preparation of soaps, fats, and oils, among other esters.
12. Glass making
Sodium metal creates its compound sodium carbonate, which is responsible for glass making. Sodium carbonate is also known as washing soda, and it has different other uses apart from glass making such as; cleaning products and a food additive as well.
13. Used in the preparation of titanium metal
Making titanium metal is very easy, that is, combining sodium metal with titanium tetrachloride, and the result is your titanium metal.
14. Used as a heat exchange medium in nuclear power plants
A heat exchange medium is any material that is used to transfer or carry heat from one place to another. Water and sodium are examples of these heat exchange mediums. For example, in nuclear power plants, nuclear fission reactions produce heat at the center of a nuclear reactor where in this reaction, some big atoms break down into smaller atoms. It is during the breakdown of the atoms that huge amounts of energy are released.
Sodium is used as a medium where it’s sealed into the pipes that are near the core of the reactor while in liquid form. When heat from the atoms has been generated, it is absorbed by liquid sodium and passes through the pipes wherein the end, and there is a room with pipes full of water. The heat carried by sodium heats the water into steam, and the steam, therefore, is responsible for operating a device that generates electricity.
15. Used as a catalyst in artificial rubber making
A catalyst is a substance that can speed up or slow down a chemical reaction, and in this case, sodium is used as a catalyst to speed up the process of polymer formation. In artificial rubber, making the process involves a small molecule reacting with itself over and over at the end, forming a polymer that is now responsible for making the artificial rubber.
In conclusion, it is evident that sodium has very many uses in its different forms and compounds. It reacts with oxygen, water, hydrogen, and air to form its compounds. It has its uses ranging from manufacturing to medical purposes as well. In medicine, we have realized that sodium compound has been used to get rid of drugs that cause toxicity in the kidney. Other uses have been well explained above, and that has shown how important sodium metal is.