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Learning Zone - The Chemical Reactivity Series

Back to Reactivity page Sodium, Na back to reactivity main page

Reaction with water

When a small piece of sodium is added to water, it moves about on the water surface. Its size gradually becomes smaller.

Hydrogen gas is given out in the reaction. The resulting alkaline solution will turn red litmus blue because of the sodium hydroxide formed.

sodium + water > sodium hydroxide solution + hydrogen
4Na(s) + 4H2O(l) > 4NaOH(aq) + 2H2(g)

Reaction with oxygen

Sodium burns vigorously in oxygen, so only gently heating is required to make it burn. It gives a golden yellow flame to produce a white powder.

Sodium + oxygen > sodium oxide 4Na (s) + O2(g) > 2Na2O(s)

Reaction with dilute acids

Sodium may reacts with dilute acids explosively. DO NOT attempt these experiments in the school laboratory.

Sodium reacts with dilute hydrochloric acid to give sodium chloride and hydrogen gas.

sodium + dilute hydrochloric acid > sodium chloride + hydrogen
2Na(s) + 2HCl(aq) > 2NaCl(aq) + H2(g)

Sodium reacts with dilute sulphuric acid to give sodium sulphate and hydrogen gas.

sodium + dilute sulphuric acid > sodium sulphate + hydrogen
2Na(s) + H2SO4(aq) > Na2SO4(aq) + H2(g)

Sodium reacts with dilute nitric acid to give sodium nitrate and hydrogen gas.

sodium + dilute nitric acid > sodium nitrate + hydrogen
2Na(s) + 2HNO3(aq) > 2NaNO3(aq) + H2(g)

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