# Balancing a reaction with unknown products

I'm given this equation in word form:

$$\ce{sodium (s) + water (aq) -> unknown~products (s/g/aq)}$$

and I have to convert this to a chemical equation. I understand how to covert this normally, that equation can hence be represented by:

$$\ce{Na + H2O -> unknown~products\:(s/g/aq)}$$

This is indeed a single displacement reaction so it should become (according to what I know so far) $\ce{Na2O + H2}$ but after doing some research, I got that it should be:

$$\ce{Na + H2O -> NaOH + \frac{1}{2}H2}$$ or $$\ce{2Na + 2H2O -> 2NaOH + H2}$$

I'm lost now, where did $\ce{NaOH}$ come from? Especially the H since there is no reason for hydrogen to be present.

Please explain why and how to balance this reaction or convert this and what factors to look at when dealing with these types of equations.

• The Na2O is unstable so it would very quickly convert to the more stable NaOH. Oct 31 '15 at 12:14
• The hydrogen is created from the exothermic reaction between the highly reactive sodium metal and water. Oct 31 '15 at 12:16
• @Joel But how can I identify when it does that? and where did H come from? Oct 31 '15 at 12:25
• The H comes from the water, think about what happened to the water molecule that reacted with the sodium ion and left an oxygen atom , hence the speculation of sodium oxide formation, where did the hydrogens go?. Sorry identify when what does what? Oct 31 '15 at 12:29