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Do Not Try This At Home
November 18, 2009 9:30 AM   Subscribe

You can see that things gradually become more terrifying : Five of the six alkali metals and their reactions to air and water. Learn more at the Periodic Table Of Videos. Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, Cesium (Caesium), and the elusive Francium.
posted by The Whelk (29 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
How can we rid the planet of these menacing instruments of terror?
posted by Balisong at 9:35 AM on November 18, 2009


Periodic Table of Periodic Posting Of This Link
posted by DU at 9:37 AM on November 18, 2009


oh and (via)
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 AM on November 18, 2009


The links in that thread are great. You know, I would have liked science a lot more if we'd gotten to see more explosions. Now, if only they could come up with a way to make Biology interesting.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:48 AM on November 18, 2009


I kept expecting it to pop up that close-up image of the little kid in "The Exorcist," with screaming noise in the background.
posted by jbickers at 9:49 AM on November 18, 2009


I love listening to the older professor (with the alkali metal tie) speak. I find it oddly reassuring that he can say something like "A lump of plutonium, which is very radioactive, is really quite warm to touch" as if he had done so himself and lived to tell the tale. Which he very well may have. He's like the Bob Ross of chemistry.
posted by the painkiller at 9:50 AM on November 18, 2009


We did the Sodium one in high school. Even better, the real purpose of it was to produce hydrogen gas, which was captured in a bottle and used for a further explosions. Science Rocks!
posted by rusty at 9:50 AM on November 18, 2009


You know, I would have liked science a lot more if we'd gotten to see more explosions. Now, if only they could come up with a way to make Biology interesting.

Clearly, sex is the answer.
posted by oulipian at 9:58 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I spent some time reviewing youtube alkali metal+water videos and this one is the absolute best. these guys really know how to blow up a bath tub.
posted by cbecker333 at 9:59 AM on November 18, 2009


Rubidium is such a tease. They could have gotten more excitement for £65 if they had gone to a strip club. Why do scientists have to be such stereotypes! I do love the science guy's hair though.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:59 AM on November 18, 2009


Nottingham's just down the road from me and these guys where on the local news when the videos started... I keep meaning to watch them all, but it's a case of so much internet so little time.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:02 AM on November 18, 2009


Science is freaking AWESOME.
posted by oddman at 10:03 AM on November 18, 2009


(Another awesome science video. Thermite and the frozen lake and OMG FIRE)
posted by The Whelk at 10:04 AM on November 18, 2009


How can we rid the planet of these menacing instruments of terror?

Throw them all in a lake.
posted by waxboy at 10:14 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's devoid of fish now, anyway.
posted by rusty at 10:36 AM on November 18, 2009


As much as I love Periodic Table of Videos....why is this still here? It's actually a triple and that's only counting the links that didn't get deleted. (And how are there so many people that haven't seen it? I thought the entire Internet found out about this at least 6 months ago.)
posted by DU at 10:55 AM on November 18, 2009


cbecker333, you may want to read this:

So they rigged a bomb in the bottom of the bath and then blew the shit out of it. I must say it did look cool ... [It] ate away at my conscience. But I couldn't do anything about it."
posted by hindmost at 11:07 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


...reviewing youtube alkali metal+water videos and this one is the absolute best. these guys really know how to blow up a bath tub.

Unfortunately, it was a fake. When the cesium and rubidium make much of an explosion, they just faked it by triggering a bomb.
posted by JiBB at 11:26 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


When I first learned about alkali metals in high school, I promised myself that one day I would mass produce cesium umbrellas. For the lulz.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:39 AM on November 18, 2009


Thermite and the frozen lake and OMG FIRE

And what an unfortunate time for someone to beam down right on top of that inferno.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:12 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Now the TSA will want to ban my Cesium snowglobe. WHERE WILL THEY STOP?
posted by msbutah at 12:19 PM on November 18, 2009


I don't know why, maybe the presenter's accent, but when they got to Cesium I couldn't help thinking: "however we happen to know, he's in the water barrel".
posted by The Bellman at 12:21 PM on November 18, 2009


Also did sodium and potassium in high school. The potassium one we did outside as Mr. Vandeventer didn't want to blow up the school or get sued.

The next year he discovered that the oil they used to store the stuff in had decayed, the principal panicked, and the county bomb squad end up removing it.
posted by aerotive at 12:28 PM on November 18, 2009


I have to admit I got quite scared in the cesium video when the presenter handled what looked like a kilogram of cesium in an ampule. Cesium is nasty, reactive stuff, and if that vial cracked it would most likely be like a hand grenade going off.
Nice videos, although I think I need to mention that some alkali metal experiments have been done on Mythbusters, too, on at least two occasions - specifically to disprove the "exploding a bathtub with cesium" myth and the "blow a hole through a wall with one gram of sodium" myth.

Oh, and I can't find it at the moment, but I remember reading an interesting account of someone doing some backyard science on their driveway by tossing sodium chunks into a water pan; the next morning their driveway was covered with yellow butterflies, because some species apparently are strongly attracted to sources of sodium or sodium salts.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 12:38 PM on November 18, 2009


That professor's hairdo should be called a "Nerdro".
posted by Skeptic at 12:58 PM on November 18, 2009


From the beginning of the Francium video:

"I'm changing my tie to my Alkali Metal tie"

This guy is my hero
posted by mrzarquon at 5:55 PM on November 18, 2009


Potassium is Evil? So that's what exploded and killed the kid's parents at the end of Time Bandits? I always wondered.

"Don't touch it, it's evil!"
posted by ilana at 10:25 PM on November 18, 2009


The speculation about the melting point and color of francium is interesting. Francium doesn't have any isotopes that live longer than about twenty minutes. It's produced in an improbable branch of the decay chain of uranium 235, but many more uranium decays produce radium and radon. You probably have francium in the foundation of your house every once in a while, but maybe not during the time it took to read this comment. It's quite possible that there has never been a concentrated sample of francium larger than the wavelength of visible light.

Some joker at Wikipedia thinks it makes body-centered cubic crystals, though.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 4:54 AM on November 19, 2009


"Don't touch it, it's evil!"

They keep telling me that, but I haven't gone blind yet.
posted by quin at 1:49 PM on November 19, 2009


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