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Chemistry in Pictures: Metal slug

by Craig Bettenhausen
November 13, 2018

Credit: NurdRage

Youtuber Nurdrage has done a lot of work on isolating elemental sodium. To clean up the product from one method, he needed to separate sodium from magnesium. He heated the mixture in mineral oil to 125 °C along with a few milliliters of a tertiary alcohol. The blob of molten sodium shown swirls around the flask because of the magnetic stirrer integrated into the hotplate; the sodium is paramagnetic, so the stirrer’s magnetic field pulls the metal along. The excess magnesium separates from the sodium and forms a fine powder that falls to the bottom of the beaker.

Credit: @NurdRage, see more at

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Related C&EN Content:

Squeezing The Opacity Out Of Sodium

Chemours Restructuring Will End U.S. Production Of Sodium Metal

Why Sodium And Potassium Really Explode In Water.



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Herbert Plenio (November 14, 2018 7:50 AM)
In some way this may be a very nice and interesting movie. On the other hand: If one of my Ph. D. students did something like that in the lab, I would not like it at all and I would tell him/her immediately to never to this again, because it is much too dangerous. Heating a combustible organic liquid and molten sodium to 125 oC (looks like an open beaker) exposed to ambient atmosphere is really dangerous! It does not even need peroxides on the surface of the metal to have a chance for a violent explosion. Should we really show such a careless movie on the C&EN website?? Please think about this.

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