Extraction of Sodium

 As sodium is a highly electro positive metal it cannot be prepared by the usual methods of reduction. The metal is extracted by the electrolysis of a molten mixture of NaCl, CaCl2 and KF in a Downs cell at 600 degree Celsius. The cell has a graphite anode and a circular iron cathode, both covered and with proper outlets. Chlorine liberated at the cathode rises up through a pipe and gets collected in a receiver in the molten state.

NaCl ------> Na+ + Cl-

Na+ + e- -------> Na (At cathode)

 2Cl- --------> Cl2 + 2e- (At anode)

The electrolysis of NaCl presents some difficulties. The fusion temperature of pure NaCl is 803 degree celsius. At this temperature both Na and Cl2 are highly corrosive. Addition of CClCl2 and KF reduce the fusion temperature to 600 degree celsius.

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