A little bit more about metal.

My chemistry teacher has some awesome stories.

Potassium is highly reactive with water and air, as I discussed last week, a scientist must conduct experiments in a highly controlled environment. Well, he knows someone who took a can of potassium, tossed into the lake, and then shot it with a gun.

This caused a bunch of repeat explosions, for lack of better words, because the little bit of potassium would react with the air, explode, and show more potassium and that would explode, and so on and so forth.

Another experiment that they would show is  take a cube of potassium and I’m not sure how they did this exactly, but the cube is probably covered with potassium oxide of sorts. They would take this cube of potassium, cut all six sides of it very quickly, and then wait a few minutes. After a few minutes, they would snip off the corner of the cube and pour out liquid potassium. This would happen because the reaction of the air with the fresh potassium would cause it to heat up so much, it melted the potassium on the inside.

Yeah. Wow.

Now, we can discuss magnesium. Magnesium isn’t reactive, and it’s light, so it makes perfect sense to make ships out of in. In fact, that is exactly what Britain did during a war with Argentina. This didn’t go too well however, since fires on the ships could not be put out once started.

Strontium is another fun metal. A certain isotope of strontium, Sr-90, is used in atomic bombs. Well, Strontium can also be used to replace calcium in our bones. Our body needs calcium though, not strontium so this leads to anemia,  and leukemia. If it can replace the calcium in our muscles as well, then we are in serious trouble, because our muscles need calcium to contract.

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

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