Mixing sodium and water in a big way

September 8, 2011 | By | 5 Replies More

Everyone knows that table salt is sodium chloride, but many people don’t know about the explosive power of metallic sodium. Back in high school chemistry lab, when the teacher wasn’t around, some of my fellow students and I sometimes flipped a tiny chip of metallic sodium into a bowl or water. The sodium would spin in flames and burn out as it is converted to corrosive sodium hydroxide. This unusual video demonstrates what happens when you throw a huge roll of sodium in to a lake.

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Category: Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. When I was in High School, someone had left a dish of sodium on a table in the chemistry lab. One of the English teachers came into the lab for some reason and noticed it smoking just a little. I don’t know if that was sublimation or a reaction to the moisture in the air, but he decided it needed to be quenched. It left a hole in the ceiling. Fortunately, the teacher was unharmed. My chemistry teacher had such a good laugh retelling the event that I often wondered if he didn’t plant it on purpose.

  2. Tony Mach says:

    Jolly good – that’ll teach the jerries!

  3. Dan Klarmann says:

    Anyone else amused by their entreaty to learn about safe disposal of waste at WetP.org?

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    Visit PeriodicTable.com: Sodium for sources and stories.
    Such as for a solid sodium duck! Not kidding.

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