Illustration of Sodium

1807 Sodium

The book of science

Tom Sharp

LondonHumphry Davy elements Illustration of Sodium


Since antiquity, little distinction was made between potash and soda. Alchemists called them both natron. In 1758, Andreas Sigismund Marggraf said they were different because they burned with different colors. In 1807 Humphry Davy produced sodium metal by electrolysis from sodium hydroxide, establishing sodium and potassium as separate elements.

Atomic number 11

Common salt, table salt is sodium chloride. Commonly known as “salt” —a seasoning and a preservative. Sodium is an essential nutrient, regulating blood volume and pressure.

Salty stuff

Salt an essential Salt in the sea Salt of the earth Salt and the savory Salt for offspring Salt for the salacious Salt in rituals Salt rub Salt cellar Salt as currency Salted cod, salted herring Saltine crackers Salt crystals, salt licks Salt mounds Salt tectonics Salt mines, salt ponds Salt caravans, salt roads Salt and civilization Rock salt, table salt Old salt Pillar of salt Pinch of salt

Chemically, a “salt” is the result of the neutralization reaction between an acid and a base. Generally, however, salt is the sodium-chloride mineral that has had a huge role in human history.

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