Is sodium a metal?


Quick Answer

Sodium is classified as a metal. A metal is an element that usually contains between one and three electrons in its outer energy levels. Metals conduct heat and electricity well, can be hammered into sheets, are lustrous and usually exists as solids at room temperature.

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Full Answer

Sodium is a soft metal that is very reactive. Sodium belongs to the family of elements called alkali metals. The elements in this group are so reactive that they have to be kept under oil to keep them from reacting with other elements and compounds in the air. Sodium is very reactive because it has a single valence electron. Valence electrons are the electrons found in the outer energy levels of atoms. They are responsible for an atom's tendency to form compounds. Sodium gives its single electron away to other atoms that need electrons, and a compound is then formed. Because of the reactivity of sodium, it is not found in its pure form in nature.

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