Sodium, Na

Sodium is a chemical element which has the symbol Na (Latin: natrium), atomic number 11, atomic mass 22.9898 g/mol, common oxidation number +1. Sodium is a soft, silvery white, highly reactive element and is a member of the alkali metals within "group 1" (formerly known as ‘group IA’). It has only one stable isotope, 23Na. Sodium was first isolated by Sir Humphry Davy in 1807 by passing an electric current through molten sodium hydroxide. Sodium quickly oxidizes in air and is violently reactive with water, so it must be stored in an inert medium, such as kerosene. Sodium is present in great quantities in the earth's oceans as sodium chloride (common salt). It is also a component of many minerals, and it is an essential element for animal life. As such, it is classified as a “dietary inorganic macro-mineral.”