What Does a Chemist Do with Excess Sodium?

Alkali metals (like sodium) really like to give up their last electron. That way, they have a very stable electron configuration. Well…one way these metals can give up their electron is to react with water:

2Na + 2H2O –> 2NaOH + H2

In NaOH, the sodium is in its ionic form, Na+. Thus, it has lost its last electron and is now quite stable. Note that hydrogen gas is a product. Well, hydrogen is an explosive gas, and this reaction produces a lot of heat. So when sodium and water react…

Click here to see what happens

Note that this was done in a drainage pond with the owner’s full permission. There were no fish in the water, and the byproduct, NaOH, is actually good for the soil in this area, as the soil is acidic. Thus, this is an environmentally friendly shenanigan.

It turns out that of all alkali metals, sodium is the SECOND LEAST reactive. Lithium is the least reactive. The other alkali metals, in order of reactivity, are potassium, rubidium, cesium, and francium.

Anyone know where I can get some francium?

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