If you will rank the chemical compounds that are quite very common in our surroundings, sodium will definitely be in the Top 5. It is practically everywhere, making a lot of processes work, including one inside our body.
Before we delve into the uses of sodium, let us first understand what it is, where it came from and in what form is it used.
Sodium is a chemical element that belongs to the category of alkali metal. It carries the symbol ‘Na’ and was discovered in early 1800s by Sir Humphry Davy who was an English chemist.
Previously, sodium was called soda, which is taken from sodanum, a headache remedy that contained the element. Its symbol, ‘Na’, is derived from the element’s Latin word Natrium, which came from Ntron, the early Egyptian name for salt.
Sodium is an important component in the human body. Controlled levels of sodium are highly significant to our nervous system. It also helps our brain to work. Such an impact of the element in our brain and our nervous system was only discovered in the 1940s by Sir John Eccles, an Australian scientist, and Andrew Huxley and Alan Hodgkin, both who were English scientists. The three were awarded a Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1963 for their very important discovery.
The human diet has a requirement of 1.5 grams of sodium intake everyday. Too much salt in the body can cause health dysfunctions the same way that lack of it or a deficiency can cause health problems.
It is important that your sodium levels are regularly checked, to ensure that you will not incur health and wellness problems in the future.
Other Uses of Sodium
Aside from our body’s need for a regular supply of sodium, there are also other uses of the element in our lives.
The most common use is in the form of table salt, which is also known as sodium chloride. It is used as an important seasoning ingredient in every kind of dish imaginable. It is also found useful in making the process of curing possible. Cured meats and other foods are preserved with the use of a great amount of salt.
Sodium is also found in another important ingredient that can be found in the kitchen – such as baking soda, which is also known as the compound sodium bicarbonate. They are mainly used as a leavening ingredient for cakes and other pastries.
More than their functions in making food taste incredibly delicious, both sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate can be used in many different kinds of functions and they do not necessarily need to be just within the four walls of the kitchen. Baking soda, when mixed with vinegar, serves as an effective cleaning solution for just about anything.
Sodium fluoride is another popular compound that is found in our everyday lives. It is present in the makings of toothpaste and other dental hygiene products including mouthwashes. It is also used in water treatment systems. It is also used in a handful of industries, including glass frosting, wood preserving and stainless steel prickling. It is also used in pesticides used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and fungi. It is also used in different types of glues and adhesives, mainly as a preservative.
Sodium is also used in different health therapies. The most common of which is a re-hydration therapy, which is done for people suffering from dehydration due to diarrhea or other health hazards. A solution of sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and glucose can help replenish our body’s water level. It is a very simple but important solution that has saved many lives.
Sodium is also used in creating beautiful lighting fixtures. Lamps with sodium are often used as street lamps. They are most distinctive for their yellow-orange glow, which can be found in almost every corner in every part of the world.
Aside from lamps, sodium is also found useful in creating a variety of products. It is used for manufacturing glass, pottery, textile dyes and soap among many other products.
Sodium has a very important application in different industries. Metallic sodium is crucial in manufacturing organic products. It is used in manufacturing titanium metals. It is also used in improving the structure of alloys. It is also used in separating zirconium and potassium from their compounds. It is also used in chemical heat transfer. As well as being a significant substance in making artificial rubber, which has a handful of different uses.
It is important that people understand how to safely handle sodium to avoid certain hazards that can be bad for our overall well being. The compound sodium fluoride can be poisonous if it is ingested in high amounts. That’s why there is only a very small amount of it that can be found in dental hygiene products such as in toothpaste.