Sodium Metal Reactions with Inorganic and Organic Compounds

Sodium, an alkali metal one of the highly reactive metal in the periodic table shows lot of reactions with other elements and compounds such as oxygen, water and more and reacts in a rapid rate when compare with other metals.

Reactions of sodium with inorganic compounds

Sodium reacts with following inorganic elements and compounds and give different products and we will look in detail about those reactions.

  1. Oxygen
  2. Water
  3. Acids
  4. Ammonia
  5. Sulfur
  6. Phosphorous
  7. Halogen
  8. Hydrogen sulfide

Reactions of sodium with organic compounds

Sodium reacts with acidic organic compounds such as alkynes with acidic hydrogen, alcohols, phenol and carboxylic acids.

First, we learn about reactions of sodium with inorganic compounds.

Sodium and air reaction

When a sodium metal piece is put in the air, there are several reactions occurring as a chain.

Air contains nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor and more gases. Sodium reacts with oxygen gas and produce sodium oxide (Na2O) which is a strong basic oxide.

Na(s) + O2(g) → Na2O(s)

Sodium does not react with nitrogen gas.

Also sodium reacts with water vapor in the air and produce sodium hydroxide and hydrogen gas.

2Na(s) + 2H2O(g) → 2NaOH(aq) + H2(g)

Then, produced sodium oxide reacts with water vapor and produce sodium hydroxide.

Na2O(s) + H2O(g) → 2NaOH(aq)

Sodium hydroxide will react with carbon dioxide and form sodium carbonate and water.

2NaOH(aq) + CO2(g) → Na2CO3(aq) + H2O(l)

Sodium and water reaction

Sodium vigorously reacts with water and produce strong alkaline aqueous NaOH solution and emit hydrogen gas. Sometimes explosions can be occurred due to great energy released from the reaction.

2Na(s) + 2H2O(l) → 2NaOH(aq) + H2(g)

Sodium and chlorine reaction

Sodium chlorine gas end produce sodium chloride. This reaction too emit great amount of heat to the outside.

2Na(s) + Cl2(g) → 2NaCl(s)

Sodium and sulfur

When sodium is heated with sulfur, sodium sulfide is given as the product.

2Na(s) + S(s) → Na2S(s)

Sodium and phosphorous

Sodium phosphide is given as the product, when sodium is heated with phosphorous.

3Na(s) + P(s) → Na3P(s)

With dilute acids

Like other metals ( except Cu, Ag, Au, Hg), sodium reacts with dilute acids and form hydrogen gas and a salt.

Sodium reacts with dilute HCl and produce sodium chloride and hydrogen gas.

2Na(s) + HCl(aq) → 2NaCl(aq) + H2(g)

Sodium reacts with dilute sulfuric acid, and form sodium sulfate aqueous solution and hydrogen gas.

2Na(s) + H2SO4(aq) → Na2SO4(aq) + H2(g)

Sodium and ammonia gas

This is an example to prove ammonia has acidic properties too (ammonia is famous for as a basic gas). Sodamide (NaNH2) and hydrogen gas are given as products.

2Na(s) + 2NH3(g) → 2NaNH2(s) + H2(g)

Sodium and hydrogen sulfide gas

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas, a very toxic gas reacts with sodium and produce sodium sulfide and emit hydrogen gas. So it is clear that, hydrogen sulfide is an acidic gas because hydrogen gas is released.

2Na(s) + H2S(g) → Na2S(s) + H2(g)

Sodium and organic compounds reactions

Sodium reacts with acidic organic compounds such as alkynes with acidic hydrogen, alcohols, phenol, carboxylic acids and most times hydrogen gas is produced too during the reactions.

Sodium and alkynes

Sodium only reacts alkynes which have acidic hydrogen atom(s). This reaction emits hydrogen gas and produce sodium salt of alkyne. This is an useful reaction when you extending the carbon chain in organic chemistry.

Sodium with alcohols, phenol and carboxylic acid

Sodium reacts with all of above organic compounds and emit hydrogen gas and sodium alkoxide, sodium phenoate, sodium carboxylate are given as products by alcohol, phenol and carboxylic acid compoundsrespectively.


why sodium does not react with nitrogen?

According to the lewis structure of Nitrogen molecule there is a triple bond in between two nitrogen atoms. That triple bond is very strong and not easy to break the molecule. The energy released by while Sodium oxidizing to Sodium +1 cation is not enough to break the triple bond of nitrogen. Therefore, Sodium does not react with Nitrogen gas.

Alcohol react with sodium metal then it gives sodium alkoxide and hydrogen gas it indicates?

Sodium reacts with alcohols and emit hydrogen gas. This reaction is similar to typical metal - acid reaction. Therefore, we can suggest that alcohols have acidic properties. But, actually alcohols are weak acids. But has enough acidic characteristics to react with alcohols.

Organic compounds that react with sodium metal

Alcohols and carboxylic acids reacts with sodium metal to show typical metal - acid reactions.

How do sodium react with oxygen

In a normal oxygen supply, sodium gives sodium oxide (Na2O) as the product with oxygen gas. If an sodium metal is exposed to the oxygen gas stream, Sodium peroxide (Na2O2) is given as the result.

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