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Richard Hammond Explodes (Alkali Metals)

British TV presenter Richard Hammond gained notoriety recently for smashing himself up at almost 300 mph in a dragster for the show Top Gear, but in a parallel life he was presenter of the science experiments show Brainiacs.

This is the classic alkali metals experiment we used to get to watch in chemistry class, but with a difference! These guys take it to the extreme to demonstrate not the fizzing and popping of lithium and sodium, not even just the smashed glass for potassium but the enormous almost Korean-scale explosion possible when caesium is added to water (DO NOT TRY THIS ONE AT HOME!!!).

Sadly it emerged recently that they probably didn’t use caesium in the final experiment at all, but an explosive charge that could nevertheless simulate the devastation a chunk of wet caesium might cause.

For more on the alkali metals and every other element come to that check out the animated periodic table.

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