Identifying sodium filled valves?

Brett Dikeman brett at
Tue Oct 16 12:00:42 EDT 2001

At 10:02 AM +0200 10/16/01, quattro at wrote:

>The book says to cut the stem in half and drop them in a bucket of water.



BTW, use a lot of water, not a little.  Why?  The heat generated from 
the reaction is sometimes enough to ignite the hydrogen produced when 
it reacts with the water.  Kaboom.  This mostly a problem where you 
drop a piece of sodium into a small amount of water and the sodium 
heats up.

   In any case, do it in a well ventilated area, and don't smoke while 
staring over the bucket watching the bubbles(for some reason, metal 
image of Huw comes to mind here, peering over the bucket, cigarette 
dangling from his mouth :-)

   Learned this little lesson about sodium from a high school chem 
professor who was incredibly nervous about just about 
everything(wrong idea when you're a high school chem teacher) and 
-very- scatterbrained.  She once put several ice cubes in her lab 
coat pocket, and forgot about them.

She remembered them about 3/4 of the way into the second period of 
the lab(well over an hour later.)

She's also the one who screwed up the concentration for the 
contact-sensitive chemical she helped one class make(and coat on 
paper sheets on the floor) for a practical joke on the next class. 
The marks were clearly visible on the floor and she always winced 
when asked how they got there.


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