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Getting a Reaction Making water is fun. It’s even more fun to mix sodium and chlorine. Sodium is a soſt , silvery metal. It explodes if it touches water. Chlorine is a greenish-yellow poisonous gas. One whiff can be deadly. Mixing these two elements must create something extreme, right? Let’s see. First, I set up fans in my lab. If any chlorine

escapes, the fans will blow the gas away from me. T en I take out some sodium. I have to be careful. One drop could start a fire. I melt the sodium. T en I step out of the way

while I blow chlorine gas at it. T e elements burst into flame. T ey burn bright yellow. Huge clouds of white smoke rise. It seems like the elements have vanished

in the smoke. T ey haven’t. T ey are the smoke. T ose clouds include specks of sodium chloride. T is compound is common table salt. So mixing an explosive metal and a deadly gas makes the stuff you sprinkle on popcorn. Sadly, most of the salt I made burned up.

Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature.

Special Metals

Most elements are metals. Metals have special properties. Many can be changed into different shapes. Many also carry heat and electricity. These three metals might surprise you.

This experiment shows what happens when you mix sodium and chlorine.

Copper can kill germs. Hospitals use it in doorknobs and other surfaces.

Calcium is one of the most important nutrients. It builds strong bones.

MARCH 2016 13

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