Sodium in water

Noah Landiault, a grade 11 student, captured this photo during a lab on the periodic trends. A small piece of sodium was added to water. The result is a nice yellow sodium flame as well as the watch glass being slightly lifted as the gases escape. Noah was in Philip Stoesser’s class at St. Theresa’s High School in Midland, Ontario. Afterwards,
phenolphthalein was added to the solution and the gas was tested with a burning splint. If you do not do this demo, show your students this photo and have them discuss the underlying chemistry. 

The flaming photo on the front cover shows the classic high school demonstration of sodium metal reacting with water. Philip Stoesser also had his students test for evidence of a reaction. Noah snapped this photo. 

The phenolphthalein was in the flask before the sodium was added to the water so the solution turned pink as the reaction proceeded. The hydrogen gas produced caused the flaming splint to “pop”. Evidence of condensation can be seen on the side of the flask. 

a bright pink solution in a flask with a glowing splint