How Many Valence Electrons Does Sodium Have?

Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na, which is an abbreviation of the Latin word “natrium.” It is a highly reactive metal that forms numerous compounds with other elements. Sodium is found in group 1 of the periodic table, which means it has only one valence electron. In this blog post, we will delve into the basics of sodium and discuss the significance of its valence electrons.

Atomic Structure of Sodium

Sodium has an atomic number of 11, which means it has 11 protons in its nucleus, as well as 11 electrons orbiting around the nucleus. The first electron shell contains two electrons, while the second shell contains eight electrons. The outermost third shell, however, only contains one electron. This means that sodium has a single valence electron occupying its outermost, or highest energy, orbital.

Valence Electrons

Valence electrons are the outermost, or highest energy, electrons in an atom. They are responsible for the chemical properties of the element, including the ability to bond with other atoms. The number of valence electrons helps determine the reactivity of the element, as well as its ability to form chemical bonds. For alkali metals such as sodium, valence electrons also determine how easily they can lose electrons to form positive ions.

Sodium’s Single Valence Electron

The single valence electron of sodium is located in the third energy level, occupying the 3s orbital. Being in the third energy level, this electron is far from the nucleus and experiences a weaker attraction to the positively charged protons in the nucleus than the inner electrons. This makes the valence electron more easily removed, which is why sodium is a highly reactive metal. Sodium readily loses its valence electron to form a positive ion with a charge of +1, making it a powerful reducing agent.

In summary, sodium has only one valence electron, which is located in the third energy level in the 3s orbital. This valence electron determines the chemical properties of sodium, including its reactivity and ability to form chemical bonds. Because it is only weakly held by the positively charged nucleus, the valence electron is readily removed, making sodium a highly reactive metal.


Sodium is a fascinating element, and its single valence electron plays a crucial role in determining its chemical properties. By understanding the structure of sodium’s atoms and the behavior of its valence electrons, we can gain insight into the chemistry of alkali metals and how they interact with other elements. With this knowledge, scientists can develop new compounds and technologies utilizing the unique properties of sodium and other elements in group 1 of the periodic table.

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