The oxide Na2O
is strongly basic, like Li2O. It
forms ionic crystals of two Na+
to each O2- ion, with the same
structure as Li2O.
Because Na2O is very
hygroscopic (meaning that it will absorb water from the atmosphere),
it is a good drying agent.
It dissolves in water to produce a strongly basic
solution of Na+ and OH
ions, which upon drying yields crystalline sodium hydroxide
Sodium hydroxide, commonly known as caustic soda
or lye, is the most common laboratory and industrial source of hydroxide