Question Video: Identifying the Products of the Initial Thermal Decomposition of Sodium Nitrate Science

Which two products are formed from the initial thermal decomposition of sodium nitrate (NaNO₃)?

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Video Transcript

Which two products are formed from the initial thermal decomposition of sodium nitrate, NaNO3? (A) Sodium metal and nitrogen trioxide. (B) Sodium oxide and nitrogen gas. (C) Sodium nitrite and oxygen gas. (D) Sodium metal and nitrogen dioxide. (E) Sodium azide and oxygen gas.

Thermal decomposition is the breaking down of a substance when heated to form two or more other substances. Many compounds decompose into two or more simpler compounds or elements when their temperature is increased.

Sodium nitrate is a solid white compound that has the chemical formula NaNO3. It thermally decomposes into two different substances if the temperature is greater than 380 degrees Celsius. One of the products is a yellow-white solid known as sodium nitrite. The chemical formula of sodium nitrite is NaNO2. Knowing this allows us to identify answer choice (C) as the correct answer because it is the only answer choice that lists sodium nitrite as a product. However, let’s confirm the identity of the second product of the reaction.

During the decomposition of sodium nitrate, oxygen gas is also produced. Oxygen gas is a colorless and odorless gas. Its chemical formula is O2. The complete balanced chemical equation includes a coefficient of two in front of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite.

In conclusion, the two products that are formed from the initial thermal decomposition of sodium nitrate are sodium nitrite and oxygen gas, or answer choice (C).

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