“Dragon’s egg” experiment
How to make an iron egg in a glass shell
Do you like stories about fantastic creatures? Chemistry turns myths into reality! In this experiment we'll show you how to make a fiery dragon's egg!
Warning! Don’t try to repeat this experiment without a professional supervision!
Reagents and equipment:
- iron(III) oxide (20 g);
- aluminum powder (25 g);
- potassium permanganate (5 g);
- magnesium strip;
- filter paper;
- 2 beakers;
- plastic spoon.
Prepare the mixture for the egg (mixture №1): put 20 g of iron(III) oxide and 20 g of aluminum powder and mix thoroughly.
Then prepare the incendiary mixture (mixture № 2): mix 5 g of aluminum powder and 5 g of potassium permanganate.
Take a bowl of sand to localize the flame.
Make a cone from filter paper and place it in the sand.
Carefully pour the mixture for the egg (mixture №1) into the cone, then the incendiary mixture (mixture № 2). Use a magnesium strip as a wick.
Light the wick!
The mixture immediately ignites and emits sparks. When the reaction ends, the mixture turns into an incandescent egg 2000°С, 2273 К, 3632 °F). Don’t touch the egg with your hands immediately after the experiment – wait until it cools down!
A powdery mixture of aluminum and iron(III) oxide is called thermite. It is ignited by a special incendiary mixture of potassium permanganate and aluminum powder. When it ignites, thermite burns intensely, releasing a great deal of heat. The mixture heats up to 2000 °С (2273 К, 3632°F). During the chemical reaction, aluminum reduces iron(III) oxide to metallic iron, and itself oxidizes to aluminum oxide. At a high temperature, aluminum oxide bakes together with sand, forming a glass-like shell. We get an iron egg in a glass shell!
Thermites are used for welding rails and casting large objects.
Wear protective gloves and glasses and work in a well-ventilated room. Observe safety rules when working with fire.