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This is an alarming three and a half pounds of sodium metal in a glass desiccator. The sodium is from eBay and the desiccator is from the Bridgestone/Firestone plant closing auction (the one caused by those faulty tires in 2001). I've briefly removed the lid to take this picture, and used a chisel to make a fresh cut into the metal (which is extremely soft). The cut is at the top right of the picture: It would normally be shiny, but it is so humid here in the summer that it oxidized to white even though I took this picture within five seconds of making the cut. Hence the need for a desiccator (with silica gel desiccant) to store it for any length of time, and even then I'm careful to leave the stopper in loose to relieve gas pressure that could build up from any moisture that remains.
The sound and video for this sample were made during my Sodium Party in the fall of 2002. During this event we dropped about 2 pounds of it, in chunks ranging from 50 grams to 175 grams, into various containers of water. It looked something like this:
Click the story book icon for this sample to read all about the party, and see videos of the many and varied ways in which sodium can explode.
This sodium is too dangerous to keep in the office with the table, and I wouldn't even want to have this much of it around in my shop: If it were to, for example, fall and break on a day when the shop floor has flooded,which happens from time to time, it could easily cause an explosion that would shatter the shop windows. That's another reason for throwing most of this enormous sample into water sometime soon: It's about the only way to make it safe.
Source: eBay seller hoofcure
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 27 August, 2002