Watch what happens when you throw solid sodium into a river

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We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: Kids, don’t try this at home.

A group of, shall we say, “amateur scientists” posted a video earlier this month when they found out what happens when you toss a chunk of solid sodium into a river. The reactions, both from the chemicals and the onlookers, are something to watch.

The sodium instantly explodes as it comes in contact with the water, sending smaller pieces of sodium flying and setting off a series of small explosions.

Another YouTube video shows the U.S. government disposing of multiple drums of sodium into the Grand Coulee area of eastern Washington state in 1947.

The video’s caption says “the barrels were rolled off a cliff onto the frozen surface of the lake where they were machine-gunned to expose the sodium. The reaction of sodium with water produced an estimated 162,000 cubic feet of hydrogen gas which then caught fire, producing a spectacular series of explosions. Several dozen passing motorist stopped to watch as a gentle mist of corrosive sodium hydroxide came down. The Army paid for repainting the cars. The War Assets Administration and the Washington State Department of Game had evaluated the impact of this disposal on the lake beforehand and concluded little effect on the lake and wildlife, but were concerned about the safety of the workers that would be involved.”

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