The thermite reaction

Description

This demonstration shows the highly exothermic reaction between aluminium and iron(III) oxide that produces molten iron. This is a competition reaction, showing aluminium to be a more reactive metal than iron. A redox reaction takes place.

Credits

:
This is an experiment from the Practical Chemistry project, developed by the Nuffield Foundation and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
the-thermite-reaction



Apparatus Chemicals

Observers and demonstrator must wear eye protection. For the demonstrator this must be goggles or a face shield.

Safety screens

For one demonstration:

Filter paper, 11 cm diameter

Pipe-clay triangle

Tripod

Plastic beaker or thick-walled glass beaker (1 dm3) (it must fit between the tripod legs)

Sand (see diagram)

Heat resistant mats

Plastic magnetic retriever or small bar magnet

The quantities given are for one demonstration

Thermite mixture (Note 1):

Aluminium powder (medium grade) (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE), 3 g

Iron(III) oxide, 9 g

Igniter (Note 2 and 3):

Domestic sparkler (16cm long, sold for indoor use)

Refer to Health & Safety and Technical notes section below for additional information.

 



 





This demonstration shows the highly exothermic reaction between aluminium and iron(III) oxide that produces molten iron. This is a competition reaction, showing aluminium to be a more reactive metal than iron. A redox reaction takes place.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

This is a resource from the Practical Chemistry project, developed by the Nuffield Foundation and the Royal Society of Chemistry. This collection of over 200 practical activities demonstrates a wide range of chemical concepts and processes. Each activity contains comprehensive information for teachers and technicians, including full technical notes and step-by-step procedures. Practical Chemistry activities accompany Practical Physics and Practical Biology.

The experiment is also part of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Continuing Professional Development course: Chemistry for non-specialists