In comparison to other science shows, Brainiac is quite effective at appealing to the visceral compulsion to play with fire. In this case, they pitted scorching hot thermite against molten metal. What could be better than a battle between two of the most enjoyable science demonstration tools of all time?
Thermite is a mixture of iron oxide and aluminum. When ignited, the aluminum is oxidized and the iron oxide is reduced. If you put it in a terracotta flower pot with a sheet of metal covering the hole at the bottom, the thin strip will melt just as the reaction has completed and allow a column of molten iron to pour straight downward.
Don’t forget to vote for Shelley!
Or she will pour molten iron on your liquid nitrogen.
Just in case that wasn’t enough for you, here is a video of the Brainiac cast playing with alkali metals — which react violently with water. Am I alone in thinking that wacky science experiments are more fun when narrated with a British accent?
When alkali metals react with water, the products are a metal hydroxide, hydrogen gas, and lots of heat. As this video shows, metals at the bottom of the periodic table react far more violently than those at the top. Every high school science student should see this.