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Published on Jun 14, 2011
Potassium has been described as 'evil', and the description isn't far off.
While the reaction of potassium with water is one of the most widely seen of all chemical reactions, with almost everyone who has sat through a chemistry class witnessing this reaction. However that doesn't mean it has nothing of interest left to offer.
Its widely stated that the reaction is mostly K + H2O = KOH + 1/2H2, but that's a heterogeneous reaction. It's very difficult to see how you are going to get a detonation out of that! Nonetheless, a reaction occurring at near the speed of sound is observed..
Further, I cannot find any reference to colored gas being evolved by the reaction of potassium with water, but it clearly is! What is this gas? What gives it it's color, well I don't know yet, and as far as I can tell, noone else does either! Welcome, to the unknown!
FYI, the 'Potassium is Evil' guy is quite right. As is clear from the guy who actually got quite lucky with misjudging the potassium reaction. I can tell you from experience that such explosions fire molten potassium in all directions. Facemask would have been prudent, as would not trusting in long tongs and arms length (meh, everyones a general after the battle!). University of Nottingham has a youtube site. http://www.youtube.com/user/periodicv... it's mostly good, but they do make the odd mistake.
License Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA -attribution Thunderf00t