What happens when a pellet of sodium is sliced in two?

1 Answer
Nov 4, 2016

Well, you get a shiny metallic surface........


Well, you get a shiny metallic surface that rapidly tarnishes before your eyes. Sodium metal is typically supplied as blocks in a thick mineral suspension. When you take out the blocks you usually determine their mass under the oil blanket in order to minimize oxidation and reaction with atmospheric water.

Because sodium metal is soft, you can use a sodium press to draw out a wire, or in a plastic bag you can roll the metal out as you would pastry (you could use a rolling pin, but it's better to use a metal cylinder) in order to get thin sheets of metal. The metal sheet may then be cut with scissors and placed in the reaction vessel.

See here for this image.