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Throwing A Chunk Of Sodium Into A River Produces Incredibly Violent Results

Throwing A Chunk Of Sodium Into A River Produces Incredibly Violent Results

Science experiments were always one of my favorite parts of school when I was younger. Getting to be hands on with the things you are learning about is always a great way to absorb information. It’s hard to be hands on with many of the other subjects in school. I remember dissecting animals in class, and catching bugs for a summer project. One thing I was never very proficient in though, was chemistry. It involves math….and math and I have a very strenuous relationship. I don’t like it, and I don’t think it particularly likes me. If I would have been able to do things like this in chemistry class though, I may have taken a little bit more of an interest! This guy takes what appears to be a rock, and tosses it into a river. Nothing special right? Well just wait until it hits the water!

What an incredible reaction! I had no idea that sodium did this when introduced to water! Sodium has a density of only about 0.97 g/mL, so it floats on water. The chemical reaction that occurs when the sodium comes in contact with water however causes it to displace hydrogen. The reaction creates jets of hydrogen underneath the water’s surface that propels the sodium around the surface. The reaction also releases heat, and the heat causes the sodium and the water to heat up which causes the reaction to happen even faster. If the sodium gets trapped on the water’s edge or against some other obstacle, enough heat can be generated to boil the water around the metal and actually melt the sodium.

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