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Sodium Hydride

Sodium hydride represented by the chemical formula NaH or HNa [1] is a highly reactive inorganic ionic compound and a strong base.  Due to its high reactivity, it is usually available as a gray solid dispersed in mineral oil that allows safe handling [2].

Sodium Hydride

Sodium Hydride Identification

CAS Number 7646-69-7 [1]
PubChem CID 24758 [1]
ChemSpider ID 23144 [3]
EC Number 231-587-3 [1]

How to Make It

Sodium hydride can be prepared by a direct reaction between hydrogen gas and sodium metal [2].

2 Na + H2 = 2NaH

Properties and Characteristics of Sodium Hydride

General Properties

Molar mass/molecular weight 23.998 g/mol [1]

Physical Properties

Color/appearance Silvery to whitish powder [1]
Melting point/freezing point 800°C, 1472°F [2]
Boiling point N/A [4]
Flash point N/A [1]
Density 1.396 g cm-3 [4]
State of matter at room temperature (normal phase) Solid [1]

Chemical Properties

Solubility in water Reacts [5]
pH >7 (basic) [2]

Atomic Properties

Crystal structure Octahedral [2]

Sodium Hydride Structure

Prominent Reactions

NaH reacts violently with water to produce sodium hydroxide and hydrogen gas that gets ignited by the heat of the reaction [5].

NaH + H2O = NaOH + H2

Alcohols react with sodium hydride to produce alkoxide ions. In the below reaction, ethanol reacts with NaH forming sodium ethoxide and hydrogen [10].

CH3CH2OH + NaH = CH3CH2ONa+ + H2

Similarly, methanol reacts with sodium hydride producing the sodium salt of methanol and hydrogen gas [8].

CH3OH + NaH = CH3ONa + H2

Chemical Formula for Sodium Hydride

Sodium Hydride Uses

  1. As a powerful reducing and deprotonating agent for many organic reactions [2].
  2. As a desiccant or drying agent for lab chemicals [2].
  3. Its application as a hydrogen storage agent in fuel cell vehicles is being explored due to its ability to release hydrogen [2].
  4. As a strong base, it finds application in organic and inorganic fine chemical preparation [6].

Is It Dangerous

NaH is a severe irritant to eyes, skin and respiratory system causing burns and is harmful if ingested. It is a highly inflammable and corrosive compound. Precaution must be taken against an explosion hazard if it comes in contact with water [2, 7]. When it is heated to the point of decomposition, it emits highly poisonous fumes of oxides of sodium [1]. After a reaction, unwanted sodium hydride should be destroyed by careful quenching or disposal [9].

Interesting Facts

  • In spite of its high basicity, NaH is not nucleophilic [12].

Sodium Hydride (NaH) Price

It costs around $30-50 per kilogram. The price may vary with suppliers [11].

References:

  1. Sodium Hydride (NaH) – Pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. Sodium hydride Formula – Sodium hydride Uses, Properties, Structure and Formula – Softschools.com
  3. Sodium Hydride – Chemspider.com
  4. Sodium Hydride – Americanelements.com
  5. Sodium Hydride – Onlinelibrary.wiley.com
  6. Sodium Hydride – Chemicalland21.com
  7. Sodium Hydride – Cameochemicals.noaa.gov
  8. What is the reaction between sodium hydride and methanol? – Answers.yahoo.com
  9. Sodium Hydride – Sites.chemengr.ucsb.edu
  10. Alcohols, Phenols, Ethers, Epoxides, Thiols, &Sulfides – Chem.latech.edu
  11. Sodium hydride price – Alibaba.com
  12. Illustrated Glossary of Organic ChemistryChem.ucla.edu

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