Engineering Question #1584

Antony St-Jacques, a 14 year old male from Kingston asks on September 23, 2003,

How can I separate NaCl so I can obtain Na?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on September 24, 2003

This would be extremely difficult and definitely not something to try at home. The industrial process to separate sodium and chlorine from salt uses an electric current of about 40,000 Amps and a temperature of 804 degrees C. Sodium is made by melting salt and then passing an electric current through it to break it down to pure molten sodium and chlorine gas. You also need special environments for a) the chlorine gas that will come off and react with nearly everything, and b) hot liquid sodium which, if it touches air, will burst into flames. You can find out all the details at

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