Analyze the properties of a sodium atom and a sodium ion.What are the differences in mass, stability, and reactivity that are caused due to the differences between the sodium atom and sodium ion?

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Sodium is an element that is located in group 1 on the periodic chart, the alkaline metals.  This group is very reactive with other elements because they have one electron located in their outer electron shell.  Sodium is no exception to this rule, it will readily volunteer the lone electron to be donated to another electronegative element.  When sodium does this, it upsets the balance between the number of electrons and the number of protons, resulting in a charge of positive one (+1).  This positively charged sodium ion is not much different from the sodium atom in terms of mass, since electrons only have 1/2000 atomic mass units.  But it is very different in stability; since it has a charge of +1, it will quickly bond with the element that accepted the electron from it, which, by the way, is now a negatively charged ion with a charge of -1.  The two charges cancel each other out, and a new compound is formed.  A good example of this would be the formation of salt between sodium and chlorine:

2Na + Cl2 ---> 2(Na+)  +  2(Cl-) --->  2NaCl


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