Occurrence, isolation & synthesis


In nature, sodium is found in the Earth's crust, 2.83 % (w/w) [7]. The isotope found in nature is 23Na (100 %, stable) [7].

In pure, solid form, sodium exist in a body-centered cubic crystal structure [7]


Originally Na was produced by reducing Na2CO3 with C [6]:

Na2CO3 + 2 C 2 Na + 3 CO (g)

Currently the process used is electrolysis of melted NaCl [6].

Cathode: Na+ (l) + e- Na (l)
Anode: Cl- (l) ½ Cl2 (g) + e-

NaCl melts at 801 °C, so the process is carried out in a mixture of NaCl and CaCl2 or Na2CO3 with a melting point of about 600 °C.