How can I extract sodium and chloride from salt?

1 Answer
May 16, 2015

You can't do it at home, but sodium and chlorine are obtained commercially by passing an electric current through molten salt.

Salt melts at 801 °C, chlorine is a poisonous gas, and molten sodium is extremely reactive.

The #"Na"^+# ions are reduced at the cathode:

#"Na"^+"(l)" + "e"^(-) → "Na(l)"#

Liquid sodium floats to the top and is drained off into a storage tank.

The #"Cl"^-# ions are oxidized at the anode.

#"2Cl"^(-)"(l) "→ "Cl"_2"(g)" + 2"e"^(-) #

The chlorine gas bubbles out of the molten salt above the anode