why does sodium have the symbol na

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Almost all sodium compounds dissolve in water. When it rains, sodium compounds dissolve and are carried into the ground.

Eventually, the compounds flow into rivers and then into the oceans. The ocean is salty partly because sodium compounds have been dissolved for many centuries. But that means that finding sodium compounds on land is somewhat unusual. They tend to be more common in desert areas because deserts experience low rainfall. So sodium compounds are less likely to be washed away. Huge beds of salt and sodium carbonate are sometimes found in desert areas. Dozens of sodium compounds are used today in all fields. Some of the most important of these compounds are discussed below. Sodium chloride (NaCl). The most familiar use of sodium chloride is as a flavor enhancer in food. It is best known as table salt. Large amounts of sodium chloride are also added to prepared foods, such as canned, bottled, frozen, and dried foods. One purpose of adding sodium chloride to these foods is to improve their flavors. But another purpose is to prevent them from decaying. Sodium chloride kills bacteria in foods. It has been used for hundreds of years as a food preservative. The pickling or salting of a food, for example, means the adding of salt to that food to keep it from spoiling. This process is one reason people eat so much salt in their foods today. Most people eat a lot of prepared foods. Those prepared foods contain a lot of salt. People are often not aware of all the salt they take in when they eat such foods. Sodium chloride is also the starting point for making other sodium compounds.

In fact, this application is probably the number one use for sodium chloride. Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3). Sodium carbonate is also known by other names, such as soda, soda ash, sal soda, and washing soda. It is also used as the starting point in making other sodium compounds. A growing use is in water purification and sewage treatment systems. The sodium carbonate is mixed with other chemicals that react to form a thick, gooey solid. The solid sinks to the bottom of a tank, carrying impurities present in water or waste water. Sodium carbonate is also used to make a very large number of commercial products, such as glass, pulp and paper, soaps and detergents, and textiles. Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). When sodium bicarbonate is dissolved in water, it produces a fizzing reaction. That reaction can be used in many household situations. For example, the fizzy gas can help bread batter rise. The rising of the batter is caused by bubbles released when sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is added to milk in the batter. Certain kinds of medications, such as Alka-Seltzer, also include sodium bicarbonate. The fizzing is one of the effects of taking Alka-Seltzer that helps settle the stomach. Sodium bicarbonate is also used in mouthwashes, cleaning solutions, wool and silk cleaning systems, fire extinguishers, and mold preventatives in the timber industry. sodium diuranate, or uranium sodium

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