The Thermite Reaction!

In this intensely exothermic reaction, iron (III) oxide is reduced to metallic iron by aluminum. The heat released is enough to raise the temperature to nearly 3000 *C! This is more than enough energy to yield molten products. Iron melts at 1535 *C.

 2Al(s) + Fe2O3(s) ---> Al2O3(l) + 2Fe(l)     Heat of reaction = -848 KJ

The reactants were put in a flower pot (with small drainage hole) and given a sodium peroxide and magnesium ribbon fuse/initiator. The action started with the characteristic white flame of burning magnesium, but the flames soon exploded in orange and yellow. We then watched as orange liquid flowed from the bottom of the pot into a coffee can filled with water. The still orange-hot iron could be observed rumbling around in boiling water! After finally ridding itself of considerable energy, we were left with a small iron ingot. When doing any experiment don't forget to be safe. You should have proper fire safety equipment ready before beginning any experiment.


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