Difference Between Sodium and Sodium Chloride

Sodium vs Sodium Chloride

Sodium is a vital element in our body. The daily dosage of sodium needed for a healthy body is 2,400 milligrams. People take up sodium in their diet in different forms, and the main sodium source is salt or sodium chloride. Sodium and salt are interchangeably used by people, because ultimately, it has the same purpose inside the body. However, both are completely different.


Sodium, which is symbolized as Na is a group 1 element with the atomic number 11. Sodium has properties of a group 1 metal. Its electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s1. It can release one electron, which is in 3s sub orbital and produce a +1 cation. Electronegativity of sodium is very low, allowing it to form cations by donating an electron to a higher electronegative atom (like halogens). Therefore, sodium often makes ionic compounds. Sodium exists as a silvery color solid. But sodium reacts very rapidly with oxygen when it is exposed to air, thus, makes an oxide coating in dull color. Sodium is soft enough to cut by a knife, and as soon as it cuts, the silvery color disappears due to the oxide layer formation. Density of sodium is lower than that of water, so it floats in water, while vigorously reacting. When sodium burns in the air, it gives a brilliant yellow flame. Sodium is an essential element in living systems to maintain osmotic balance, for nerve impulse transmission, and so on. Sodium is also used to synthesize various other chemicals, organic compounds and for sodium vapor lamps.

Sodium Chloride

Sodium chloride, which is also known as salt, is a white color crystal with the molecular formula NaCl. Sodium chloride is an ionic compound. Sodium is a group 1 metal, thus forms a +1 charged cation. Chlorine is a nonmetal, and has the ability to form a -1 charged anion. With the electrostatic attraction between the Na+ cation and the Cl- anion, NaCl obtains a lattice structure. In the crystal, each sodium ion is surrounded by six chloride ions, and each chloride ion is surrounded by six sodium ions. Due to all the attractions between ions, the crystal structure is more stable. The number of ions present in the sodium chloride crystal varies with the size of it. Sodium chloride is easily soluble in water and makes a salty solution. Aqueous sodium chloride and molten sodium chloride can conduct electricity due to the presence of ions. NaCl is normally produced by evaporating the sea water. It can also be produced by chemical methods, such as adding HCl into sodium metal. These are used as food preservatives, in food preparations, as a cleansing agent, for medical purposes, etc.

What are the differences between Sodium and Sodium Chloride

- Sodium is an atom and sodium chloride is a molecule containing sodium.

- Sodium and sodium chloride have contradictory properties from each other.

- Sodium is very reactive with oxygen in the air, but sodium chloride doesn’t react with oxygen in the air.

- Sodium chloride is a stable crystal, but sodium is a non stable solid.