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There is no need (or possibility, really, in terms of standard lab capabilities) to oxidize sodium(I). In fact, one method relies on sodium(I) reduction to metal as a method of eliminating unwanted chloride. Method 1 Electrolysis of molten sodium chloride: $$\ce{2 NaCl(l) -> 2 Na(l) + Cl2(g)}$$ Oxidation of sodium metal to oxide by burning: \ce{4 Na + ...

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Chiral amino alcohols such as L-valinol are generally prepared by the reduction of corresponding α-amino acids and suitable reducing reagent. Most commonly used reducing agent is $\ce{LiAlH4}$ since most common reducing reagent, $\ce{NaBH4}$ does not reduce carboxylic acid to corresponding alcohols. However, use of $\ce{LiAlH4}$ has notable disadvantages ...

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The process you described would be more appropriately called "reduction of mercury(II) to elemental mercury". Unfortunately, the trick with iron likely won't work (something more inert like copper would be a better choice though). Mercury(II) oxide is weakly basic, so mercury salts in general would easily undergo hydrolysis and form basic oxosalts in ...

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