I found a thread on electrolyzing molten sodium hydroxide: http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=51331.0 Question: does it proceed via Reaction 1 or 2? 1) NaOH -> Na + OH 2) NaOH -> Na + O + H Does Na separation from NaOH by electrolysis of the molten NaOH proceed by Reaction 1 or 2? This process starts with NaOH material as a solid. The idea is that this is heated to become molten. Then electricity is applied to it to electrolyse out the Sodium, but what of the hydroxyl = OH? Does the OH come off as some sort of OH bound state, a Hydroxyl? some sort of "Brown's Gas" like gas? is it standalone OH gas? or as separate O and separate H? i.e. Can the O come off separately from the H or only bound? Does writing down the "half equations" break down this process and answer this question? Can someone provide the "half equations" analysis for Reactions 1 and 2 and under what conditions does it proceed via Reaction 1 and under what conditions does it proceed via Reaction 2?