MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Electrolysis of a fused ionic compound

Area: Chemistry
Posted By: Artem Evdokimov, Grad student, Structural Biology (Chemistry)
Date: Sun Mar 23 21:58:14 1997
Message ID: 857094276.Ch

Dear user,

The reaction in question has been actually proposed and utilized as one of
the methods of producing metallic sodium.
The reaction runs rather simply 

NaOH  ----> Na+ + OH(-)
4Na+ +4e- ----> 4Na(0)
4OH(-) - 4e- ----> O2 + 2H2O 

H2O ---> H2 + O2 in a usual manner. 
The latter is one of the reasons of why the process was discarded -
hydrogen was produced as well as sodium, and one does not want 
hydrogen around oxygen at the temp. of molten NaOH.


P.S. a standard disclaimer - do not try this. Molten NaOH
is bad enough to eat through flesh and sodium at that temperature is
liquid and ignites on contact with air, which would certainly do no good.

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