"Sodium Flower" experiment
How to make flowers grow from pieces of sodium
A chemist is not just a researcher, but also a creative personality who truly appreciates beautiful things. This impressive and captivating experiment shows you how to grow a real chemical garden from “sodium flowers”!
Reagents and equipment:
- bromothymol blue;
- metallic sodium;
- glass bowl;
- glass rod.
Pour isopropanol and a little ethanol into the beaker and stir the solution. Sprinkle the bromothymol blue and phenolphthalein indicators into the solution. Pour the resulting indicator mixture into a glass bowl and add a few pieces of metallic sodium on top. Watch as blue-red patterns that look like flowers appear on the surface of the solution.
The sodium reacts with alcohols with the formation of sodium alkoxides, the solutions of which have an alkaline medium. The indicators react to a change in acidity, and turn the mixture blue and crimson. Bromothymol blue turns blue, and phenolphthalein turns crimson. As isopropanol has quite a high viscosity, the slow diffusion of the alkali takes place, an interesting effect which causes a flower to appear.
This experiment must be conducted in protective gloves and glasses, and safety rules for working with flammable substances must be observed. Metallic sodium ignites on contact with water, so it is stored in containers under a layer of kerosene. The left-over pieces of sodium that do not react should be destroyed by dissolving them in ethanol. Do not flush the sodium pieces down the drain.
Warning! Only under professional supervision.