Question 10.27:

State as to why

(a)a solution of Na2CO3 is alkaline ?

(b)alkali metals are prepared by electrolysis of their fused chlorides ?

(c) sodium is found to be more useful than potassium ?

(a) When sodium carbonate is added to water, it hydrolyses to give sodium bicarbonate and sodium hydroxide (a strong base). As a result, the solution becomes alkaline.
${\mathrm{Na}}_{2}{\mathrm{CO}}_{3}+{\mathrm{H}}_{2}\mathrm{O}\to {\mathrm{NaHCO}}_{3}+\mathrm{NaOH}$
(b) It is not possible to prepare alkali metals by the chemical reduction of their oxides as they themselves are very strong reducing agents. They cannot be prepared by displacement reactions either (wherein one element is displaced by another). This is because these elements are highly electropositive. Neither can electrolysis of aqueous solutions be used to extract these elements. This is because the liberated metals react with water.
Hence, to overcome these difficulties, alkali metals are usually prepared by the electrolysis of their fused chlorides.
(c) Blood plasma and the interstitial fluids surrounding the cells are the regions where sodium ions are primarily found. Potassium ions are located within the cell fluids. Sodium ions are involved in the transmission of nerve signals, in regulating the flow of water across the cell membranes, and in transporting sugars and amino acids into the cells.
Hence, sodium is found to be more useful than potassium.