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If you need more proof that science can be an absolute blast, look no further than this explosive experiment.
What happens when this man throws a pound of sodium into a river? Wait for it…
In the video, the man is seen standing by the river’s edge, wearing gloves and holding a block that looks almost like a big stone. It’s actually a pound of sodium, a natural element.
What type of reaction will happen when that sodium meets the water? This chemistry experiment may not be quite what you were expecting.
The people gathered to watch prepare as he throws the sodium block into the water. Once it makes contact, a chemical reaction sets off an explosion, causing the sodium to fly out of the water, break off and fall into the water, only to explode again and again.
While it looks pretty cool, not everyone was so impressed in the YouTube video comments, with plenty of worry about the fish: “Poor fish,” “I’m sure the fish love that,” and “What about aquatic life?”
Another person added: “LOL let’s hold the sodium using heavy duty gloves because you know how corrosive it can be, then go ahead and chuck it in the river like a dumbass with no remorse for that ecosystem.”
Still another assured the commenters: “lmao at these comments. The fish are mostly unaffected, relax.”
Yet another person noted: “For the record, one pound of Sodium releases about (conservatively) 60L of sodium hydroxide into that river. A freshwater body has a pH of about 6-8. You just raised that pH for a HUNDRED feet (depending on current) to about 9. That should kill most of the flora and fauna and make the water undrinkable for wildlife for maybe…days? For what? For entertainment. Selfish and stupid. I’d like everyone to watch this video so they can see how ignorant people can be in quest of the God-almighty ‘like.’ Hope it was worth it. Jerk.”
The original video’s poster responded, writing: “As you can see, the video was uploaded in 2014. For several days after it was uploaded, the river looked fine. There were no articles about a section of it dying and when I returned 6 months later, the river looked exactly as it had before.”
He added: “Even if your estimate of 60L of pure NaOH is accurate (and it seems awfully high, given that the total volume of the ingot was substantially less than 1L), 60L in a fast-flowing section of the river passing through 364,000 liters of water per day would barely shift the PH at all. Even you are that concerned with the cleanliness of rivers and our environment, instead of lecturing a guy who threw a single pound of sodium into a river once, maybe you could go lobby for increased regulation of emissions from two-stroke engines? The numerous boats going up and down rivers every day which are running with cheap two-stroke outboards are very likely polluting substantially more than I ever will with sodium, both through their unclean emissions and through poor maintenance of exhaust seals leading to oil/gas leaks.”
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