The key difference between sodium and iron is that sodium is a soft metal and a non-transition metal with low melting and boiling points and whereas iron is a hard metal and a transition metal with very high melting and boiling points.
Both sodium and iron are metals. However, these two metals are different from each other and have differences in both chemical and physical properties as well as appearances.
What is Sodium?
Sodium is a chemical element having atomic number 11 and the chemical symbol Na. The chemical symbol of this atom comes from its Latin name Natrium. Sodium can be found in group 1 and period 3 of the periodic table of elements, where it exists as an s-block element. We can categorize sodium as an alkali metal because it is a group 1 metal. The electron configuration of this chemical element is [Ne]3s1. Moreover, the valency of sodium is 1. Therefore, one sodium atom can remove one electron in order to get a stable, noble gas electron configuration.
However, we cannot find any free sodium atoms in nature because of their high reactivity. This metal exists in the form of salts from which we can extract the pure metal. Further, this metal can be recognized as the 6th most abundant element on Earth’s crust. Sodium mainly occurs in minerals like feldspar, sodalite, and rock salt. Almost all sodium salts are water-soluble. Upon dissolution, these salts form a sodium cation having a +1 electric charge.
Sodium is an essential element for animals and some plants. For instance, the sodium cation is the major cation in extracellular fluid in animals. Besides, metallic sodium is important for the production of sodium-containing compounds such as sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide, and sodium carbonate, which are produced annually for different needs. Further, metallic sodium is useful in the production of sodium borohydride, sodium azide, indigo, and triphenylphosphine. In addition, sodium is used as an alloying metal for anti-scaling agents.
What is Iron?
Iron is a chemical element having the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It exists as a metal. Iron is very common on earth, both in the outer and inner core. Further, it has a lustrous metallic appearance and occurs at solid-state under standard temperature and pressure. Similarly, it has high melting and boiling points: 1538°C and 2862°C, respectively. Moreover, the most stable and common oxidation states of iron are +2 and +3. The +2 state is ferrous, while +3 is ferric. Iron metal is a ferromagnetic metal, and its thermal and electrical conductivity are also high. The crystal structure of iron can be described as body-centered cubic, and there is another possible crystal structure known as face-centered cubic structure.
Typically, the adult human body contains around 4 grams of iron, mostly contained in hemoglobin and myoglobin. These are two types of proteins that play essential roles in vertebrate metabolism. Moreover, iron is the metal at the active site of some redox enzymes that deal with cellular respiration and oxidation, and reduction in plants and animals.
What is the Difference Between Sodium and Iron?
Sodium and iron are metallic chemical elements having important roles in the human body. The key difference between sodium and iron is that sodium is a non-transition metal with low melting and boiling points and is a soft metal, whereas iron is a transition metal with very high melting and boiling points and is a hard metal.
The following table summarizes the difference between sodium and iron.
Summary – Sodium vs Iron
Sodium is a chemical element having atomic number 11 and the chemical symbol Na. Iron is a chemical element having the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. The key difference between sodium and iron is that sodium is a non-transition metal with low melting and boiling points and is a soft metal, whereas iron is a transition metal with very high melting and boiling points and is a hard metal.
“Sodium – Element Information, Properties and Uses: Periodic Table.” Royal Society of Chemistry.
1. “Iron electrolytic and 1cm3 cube” By Alchemist-hp (talk) – Own work (FAL) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Na (Sodium)” By The original uploader was Dnn87 at English Wikipedia. – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia