Energy & Green Tech

Micro-engineered electrodes could cut battery manufacturing costs

New, easily fabricated, high performance carbon microlattice electrodes could soon be used to make cheaper batteries powered by readily available sodium ions. The approach was published by Tohoku University researchers and ...

Energy & Green Tech

New material pushes sodium-ion batteries to phase out costly lithium

With lithium prices over five times higher than they were a year ago, researchers from Skoltech and Lomonosov Moscow State University have developed a material for sodium-ion batteries that offer an alternative to the increasingly ...

Energy & Green Tech

Generating power where seawater and river water meet

Scientists have known since the 1950s that it is theoretically possible to generate electricity through the movement of water in locations where seawater and river water meet. This type of technology is called osmotic power ...

Energy & Green Tech

A new approach leads to better sodium ion battery

Cheaper and far more abundant than lithium, sodium is increasingly appealing as a foundation for a next generation of high-voltage rechargeable batteries. Development of commercially viable sodium ion batteries lags significantly ...

Energy & Green Tech

Researchers develop alternative to lithium batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are currently the preferred technology to power electric vehicles, but they're too expensive for long-duration grid-scale energy storage systems, and lithium itself is becoming more challenging to access.

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Sodium (pronounced /ˈsoʊdiəm/) is a metallic element with a symbol Na (from Latin natrium or Arabic natrun) and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals within "group 1" (formerly known as ‘group IA’). It has only one stable isotope, 23Na.

Elemental sodium was first isolated by Sir Humphry Davy in 1806 by passing an electric current through molten sodium hydroxide. Elemental sodium does not occur naturally on Earth, but quickly oxidizes in air and is violently reactive with water, so it must be stored in an inert medium, such as a liquid hydrocarbon. The free metal is used for some chemical synthesis and heat transfer applications.

Sodium ion is soluble in water in nearly all of its compounds, and is thus present in great quantities in the Earth's oceans and other stagnant bodies of water. In these bodies it is mostly counterbalanced by the chloride ion, causing evaporated ocean water solids to consist mostly of sodium chloride, or common table salt. Sodium ion is also a component of many minerals.

Sodium is an essential element for all animal life and for some plant species. In animals, sodium ions are used in opposition to potassium ions, to allow the organism to build up an electrostatic charge on cell membranes, and thus allow transmission of nerve impulses when the charge is allowed to dissipate by a moving wave of voltage change. Sodium is thus classified as a “dietary inorganic macro-mineral” for animals. Sodium's relative rarity on land is due to its solubility in water, thus causing it to be leached into bodies of long-standing water by rainfall. Such is its relatively large requirement in animals, in contrast to its relative scarcity in many inland soils, that herbivorous land animals have developed a special taste receptor for sodium ion.

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