When sodium metal is added to ethanol, a gas is evolved. Suggest the identity of this gas, and compare this with a similar reaction of sodium.

Expert Answers

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When sodium metal is added to ethanol, the following chemical reaction takes place:

`2 C_2H_5OH + 2Na -> 2C_2H_5ONa + H_2`

Thus, we can see that hydrogen gas is evolved when sodium reacts with ethanol. Along with the gas, sodium ethoxide is also generated. When we evaporate the solution, we end with a precipitate of sodium ethoxide. 

A similar reaction of sodium also takes place with water and we obtain the same gas. This chemical reaction can be written as:

`2Na + 2H_2O -> 2NaOH + H_2`

Here, sodium hydroxide and hydrogen gas are the products and hence the reaction is similar to that between sodium and ethanol.

Incidentally, a reaction of sodium with other alcohols (such as methanol, propanol, etc.) will also be along the similar lines and will generate hydrogen gas.

Hope this helps. 

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