Understanding Sodium Ethoxide as an Organic Compound

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In chemistry, when carbon atoms covalently link themselves to elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, or hydrogen, it results as a large cluster of chemicals known as an organic compound. Some common examples would include sodium ethoxide or azaindoles such as 7-Azaindole etc.

But not every compound that contains carbon atoms, does not always result in creating an organic compound, this can be seen when considering carbonates or carbide compounds. In this article, we look at sodium ethoxide as an organic compound, which will include its preparation, properties and other reactions.

Sodium Ethoxide

Sodium ethoxide is an organic compound that is white in color and is a solid in nature. But it can also be found in different colors which occur due to the impurities present in the compound. The chemical formula of sodium ethoxide is C2H5Ona. Sodium ethoxide is widely known to easily dissolve in solvents such as ethanol.

The compound can also be identified by its other names such as sodium ethanoate or sodium ethylate, where the latter name is almost obsolete now.


In order to produce or synthesis sodium ethoxide in your laboratory, you will require sodium hydroxide or sodium metal and ethyl alcohol. The reaction between sodium hydroxide and ethyl alcohol will result in sodium ethoxide.

But at this stage the compound is in a liquid form. For solid form, you will need to react sodium hydroxide with anhydrous ethanol which will result in synthesis of the compound with water.

In layman terms, if you add even the smallest amount of sodium into ethanol, both will react together to give off hydrogen gas. And you will be left with a colorless liquid known as sodium ethoxide.

Sodium ethoxide as Nucleophile

It is important to understand that a solvent can be responsible for affecting the nucleophilicity of ethoxide ions. This makes ethoxide an open nucleophile which is considered a better nucleophile compared to other types.

Further ethoxide can easily attack nucleophiles much better which makes them a much stronger nucleophile, which in turn reveals that sodium ethoxide would be a strong nucleophile as well. It is also important to keep in mind that ethoxide is a strong base as well.

Organometallic Compound

The important aspect of an organometallic compound is a presence of at least one covalent bond between metal and carbon ion. When considering sodium ethoxide, this does not appear to be the case, which indicates that it is not an organometallic compound.

Uses of Sodium Ethoxide

Sodium ethoxide is considered a strong base in organic chemistry. It is widely known to be useful for various processes such as Claisen condensation of malonic ester synthesis. Both require a presence of a strong base, hence sodium ethoxide is readily used.

General properties of Sodium Ethoxide

When first synthesized by reacting sodium and ethanol together, sodium ethoxide will also come out to be a colorless solution. This but as a solid it can be found in different colors, such as white, yellow etc. the colors apart from the white generally appear due to the presence of impurities in the compound.

Sodium ethoxide is very soluble with water and generally has a melting point of over 260 degrees Celsius and its boiling point is at 91 degree Celsius. When reacted with water, it will result in creating ethanol. On the acidic chart, sodium ethoxide comes at 15.5.

Safety while Handling

Since sodium ethoxide is a strong base, it can be corrosive and is generally very dangerous for human beings. Hence should be handled carefully as it can cause burns and damage to skin or eyes.

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