Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thermite, Baby!

I'm officially back from my 25 day hiatus! That's a crazily long period to have left my blog, but what's important is I'M BACK! To you poor me-deprived people, rejoice, for you have again a nonsensical collection of random occurrences to keep you entertained.

OK lah. I'll cut the crap and get on to what I've been doing the past weeks. In no chronological order, I have :

1. witnessed thermite first hand
2. won a durian (from a catapult competition, which I'm sure you'd like to hear about)

3. created my own smoke bomb

4. taken part in a number of runs, most notably the school's recent Patriotic Run

I couldn't really care less for dramatic theatrics, so I won't stick to the 'save the best for last' crap. So without much further ado I present. . .


I'm NOT referring to termite babies, just to clear things up.

Some background on the legendary thermite reaction :

-It's used to weld stuff together (that means very very hot)
-It's very very hot (up to 2500 °C)
-It's just darn cool! (and hot, at the same time)

So I'm sure you'd be wondering why in the world I'm doing crazy stuff like this in school. It's simple really.


Okay, I lied. Mr Lawrence, my chem teacher, wanted a memorable photo of us, for keepsakes you know. What more memorable than a thermite reaction? You should have seen how elated he was the whole day. But since it was really dangerous, we only used a small, 'kicit' amount.

We used just a little bit in case it blew up the school along with it.

Wikipedia says 'Thermite usage is hazardous due to the extremely high temperatures produced and the fact that it is almost impossible to smother once initiated.'

We recorded a short video of the reaction, and do remember we only used so little, so it's not really that spectacular, but still cool anyway.

Some other pictures.

Our secret ingredient. Only that now I've told you, it's no longer a secret. Darn.

That smolderingly suspicious-looking red patch in the middle is pure molten iron. Read that. Molten. Iron.

Taa daa! If you have any old pots you don't like any more, feel free to throw some thermite in and see how well it melts.

So cool leh. All of you should really take up Chemistry. Of course, there's a lot of theory behind the reactions, which we had to study thoroughly before actually doing it.

Weeeeeeell, if you're interested there are some other interesting reactions which we did in school.

Other Interesting Reaction #1 : Ammonium Chromate (VI) and Magnesium

This is also known as the 'Volcano' reaction because (well well, no guesses here) it looks like a volcano, if you observe the end bit of the video.

Other Interesting Reaction #2 : Chemical X and Chemical Y

This is the same reaction that notoriously blew up in my house not too long ago, and you can read about it here. Well, I'm proud to say I did it right this time, with all the safety gear and low heat settings. This one was Jason's, and we tested out just a little lump, since the whole chunk would have set off the smoke alarms.

It didn't self-ignite this time. Yay.

After ignition and giving off a whole load of smoke, this was all that was left.

Probably the most memorable and hilarious part was after we ignited the smoke bomb and safely ran away. We actually committed the evil deed outside the girls toilet (heheheh) and so there was smoke everywhere.

Right after that, there were these two girls walking to the loo and then they just STOPPED when they saw all the smoke. I nearly died laughing.

I mean, can you imagine what they must have been thinking?

Girl 1 : Let's go pee!
Girl 2 : Yeah! I've been waiting all day to go pee!

*walk walk walk walk*

Girl 2 : . . .
Girl 1 : Wow, that must have been one heck of a fart.


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