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Sodium superoxide

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  • Sodium superoxide is the inorganic compound with the formula NaO2. This yellow-orange solid is a salt of the superoxide anion. It is an intermediate in the oxidation of sodium by oxygen.
  • NaO2 is prepared by treating sodium peroxide with oxygen at high pressures:
    Na2O2 + O2 → 2 NaO2
  • It can also be prepared by careful oxygenation of a solution of sodium in ammonia:
    Na + O2 → NaO2
  • Sodium superoxide has been prepared in pilot plant quantities and tested for personal breathing apparatus applications with results similar to Potassium superoxide.
  • The sodium in sodium superoxide formally is in the oxidation state 1.
  • Sodium superoxide was first synthesized in 1949 by the oxidation of sodium peroxide at an oxygen pressure of 289 atmospheres and a temperature of 490C for a reaction period of 100 hours .
  • Improvements in this process have yielded products which are almost pure . Another method employs the self-oxidation of benzophenone with metallic sodium dissolved in tetrahydrofuran .
  • Today, sodium superoxide is manufactured on a commercial scale in the Soviet Union. There is also some production in the United States. A small percentage of the sodium peroxide produced commercially contains sodium superoxide.

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