> chemistry > métaux-alcalins > nurd-rage-lab-notes-making-sodium-metal > vlog-april-2018-failed-experiments-and-work-in-progress-on-making-alkali-metals-nurdrage

Vlog April 2018 - Failed experiments and work in progress on making alkali metals

NurdRage - 2018-04-25

Been doing a lot of things this month, but nothing successful enough to make for a separate video. Current experiments include making sodium metal.

videos mentioned: 

making ethyl propionate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah5ds_3s5BI

Make trimethyl orthoformate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmUNTkP2nw0

Make alkyl halides: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ydn1D4FSqkc

Make tertiary alcohols by grignard reaction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFQWD7-DCPI

NurdRage - 2018-04-25

I seriously love that quote: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

So many cases where i have removed all doubt...

KnightsWithoutATable - 2018-04-25

I would suggest some social training to help with it. In other words, you have to go out and interact with people in the world, face to face. This is what I did and it made a huge difference when interacting with others. Just try to remember that most people are not as intelligent as they seem and that their decisions are emotionally based most of the time instead of rationally made.

Bee Wee - 2018-04-26

But if you just sat there and never opened your mouth people would think there was something wrong with you.
You're damned if you do...

KnightsWithoutATable - 2018-04-26

Not true, there are other ways of communicating. Heck, you can have a popular and recurring character in a major prime time TV show never have a single line and still have their responses to the other characters be deep and emotional. Look up Morn from Deep Space 9 some time.

helo void - 2018-04-28

make a video on thermodynamics

AYAN DAS - 2018-08-18

Which tv show?

Green Silver - 2018-04-25

We have a possibility of putting a face to NurdRage! 🤔

Bradyn Austin - 2018-04-25

I think that he revealed his face in the "Liquid Nitrogen" challenge video

Chris Licata - 2018-04-26

That was not him. It was Muhammad Qureshi according to the description

GRBTutorials - 2018-05-19

Just what I was thinking! Unless, of course, his face doesn’t actually appear and just narrates it or something like that.

Yacob Gugsa - 2018-04-25

Perhaps you could resurrect the monthly question and answer videos where you answer questions from Patreon patrons, or the Patreon goal of making a video on a patron's desired chemistry subject. These are just ideas on how to maintain a steady content flow in between failures, so you don't get hosed by Youtube's new algorithms.

Or are you satisfied with just having the /r/nurdrage subreddit?

Kyle Blakeney - 2018-04-25

Sodium napthalide is a somewhat common reducing agent in inorganic synthesis, made simply by heating sodium metal with napthalene in THF. I suspect that tetrahydronapthalene reacts with sodium metal in a similar fashion.

Explosions&Fire - 2018-04-25

Do you think the catalytic magnesium-potassium approach could be used for Rubidium production? I know the major hurdle is the expense of the Rb have several grams of RbCl to play with. Rb seems more chemically similar to potassium than sodium does, so perhaps this is a thing for you to try seeing as you can reliably produce potassium metal. Would be within a video budget perhaps to just get ~8g RbOH and see if it works?

NurdRage - 2018-04-25

if i can get sodium and potassium to work. then i'll definitely move onto rubidium and cesium (if i can find a way to buy the hydroxides)

AllChemystery - 2018-04-26

i personally would rather distill it from Ca or Li under vacuum. you would certainly get results with a decent setup using RbCl . i had both potassium and cesium work this way. Cesium will work with the Mg reduction but you need CsOH and in a hot oil solution you could kiss any flask goodbye! its probably the most caustic hydroxide around. i had a small beaker gently etched by warm CsOH concentrated solution. Hot would probably eat it through.

Gary Carone - 2018-04-26

AllChemystery same issue with KOH. I've etch 2 flasks already doing that experiment. Thought it was because the bottom of the flask was getting too hot being in direct contact with the hot plate. Tried again using an oil bath, and it still etched the glass. Maybe steel would work better, but then you couldn't observe the reactions progress.

Don Hyon - 2018-07-17

One worry is that rubidium may reduce the aromatic solvent into a tar like sodium does.

Lucas Wang - 2018-04-25

Haha I was going to go to bed until I saw this

Wolfin - 2018-04-25

haha congrats on still having notifications enabled

Astral Chemistry - 2018-04-25

You might get the radical anion via SET, considering the high temperatures involved.

AllChemystery - 2018-04-25

Sooo did you yield potassium from the dioxane approach? I saw a distinctly lilac thermite there. i have tried a few times with no success. the little droplets of K that did form seemed to be destroyed as fast as they were there.

Darian Ballard - 2018-04-25

Hello Allchemystery. Do you know of any other good channels like NurdRage's???? I no longer see any good videos in the ( recommended for you) On my profile.

Astriel Maahes - 2018-04-26

Darian Ballard NileRed, my dude

AllChemystery - 2018-04-26

there is a few. NileRed, ChemPlayer, Astral Chemistry, MrHomeScientist, Mbakken, Dougs Lab, Rhodanide, Extractions&Ire, Myst32, Nux's Channel, Periodic Videos, Toms Lab, Sum Lab. these are most of the ones on my subscription list but theres quite a few lesser viewed ones that you kinda stumble across while searching for stuff.

Seven Proxies - 2018-04-25

Can I make a small request or offer som advice? In some videos you mention some potential uses for some of these chemicals that you're trying to make. For a more learned chemist, they can probably figure it out for themselves, and you being the scientist you're probably interested in seeing how the reactions turn out.

But for us with even more cursory knowledge of chemistry, it would be interesting to learn what uses these chemicals can have as well as knowing if some methods are more cost-effective than others.

I think adding these little details about practical uses will be a good hook to get more novices onto your channel.

I hope my suggestion doesn't come across as arrogant or anything. It's just that I often tend to have an interest in practicalities. :)

Regardless, thank you for your very informative and fascinating videos.

I'd like to donate over patreon but i'm in between jobs at the moment so regretfully I have to be a bit of a pinch purse for the time being.

Tibor Roussou - 2018-04-25

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
~ Thomas Edison

Gareth Dean - 2018-04-25

'Well ok, my UNDERLINGS have, but I took the credit.'

Seven Proxies - 2018-04-25

All discoveries are good discoveries. ;)

St0RM33 - 2018-04-25

Which TV SHOW???

SoftserveSodium - 2018-04-25

Probably Hamilton's Pharmacopeia, I happened to catch the two talking on twitter

The Curious Sapien - 2018-04-25

We all learn from mistakes - even if they are your mistakes. lol I, for one, appreciate your humility and honesty in your work. Synthesize on brother.

HMS Illustrious - 2018-04-25

I suspect you formed the radical anion napthalide. It looks like that.

NurdRage - 2018-04-25

i agree. would also explain why potassium seems to work better, it's simply doesn't have as strong a reduction potential as sodium, so it survives.

nick paz - 2018-04-25

Awesome new video! love seeing the nitty gritty parts of chemistry. keep up the great work! :D

MisterLepton - 2018-04-25

And did you see the thread over at sciencemadness.org about K from some inert oil, tertiary alcohol, Mg and KOH?

skonkfactory - 2018-04-25

Tetrahydronaphthalene is known to react with alkali metals at high temperatures; it's what caused the SRE meltdown at the SSFL in the 50s.

NurdRage - 2018-04-25

high temperatures yes, but i didn't suspect it would be a problem at just ~200C. It seemed to work with potassium well enough too. But it seems it can't handle sodium at 200.

My bad though. Now i know :)

(nonetheless, it's an interesting result.)

skonkfactory - 2018-04-25

Look on the bright side, at least your tetralin isn't radioactive.

NurdRage - 2018-04-25


(*runs off to measure it with a geiger counter*)

Richard Adrian - 2018-04-25

NurdRage haha, here's the thing though. A failure is only a failure if nothing is learned from it. Hell the refridgerant for ac was initially discarded as a failure in an attempt to get a completely different result.

abdlla abozhra - 2018-04-25

+skonkfactory bright side ?

Audiocronic - 2018-04-25

I like seeing this kind of stuff sometimes. It’s really interesting to see the various methods you tried, regardless.

yoface1100 - 2018-04-26

I honestly love the update videos, it just goes to show how much genuinely goes into chemistry, not just pouring a couple beakers of liquid together and watching what happens.

Shaun Dobbie - 2018-04-25

Where's that active ingredient of C41 film developer I asked for?

Auride - 2018-04-25

I really love watching your failure videos, because I still get to enjoy you demonstrating and explaining the science.

Kyle Bonene - 2018-04-25

I absolutely love these videos because to me, this is the real science. Taking the time to figure out what does and doesn't work and learning new things about compounds and their interactions. Absplutely amazing, keep it up!

science_and_anonymous - 2018-04-25

THIS!!! THIS IS REAL CHEMISTRY!!! Chemistry isn't always golden winning discoveries, and easy synthesis...this is a real life science. Thanks again nerdrage

Skittle Serval - 2018-04-25

Another great video, NurdRage. Thanks for the work you put in as always!

Moist - 2018-04-25

Would you be able to give a tour of your lab? I'm looking to build my own fume hood and I'd appreciate the reference.

Gary Cazzell - 2018-04-25

is there such a thing as hydrogen metal? just wondering since it's located in that group on the pte.

Bob wilson - 2018-04-28

Yes it exists under extreme pressure in some planets.

Lukáš J. - 2018-04-28

Search metallic hydrogen.

dr.rockzo - 2018-04-25

Glad to see you're back....it has been kinda slow recently on the good chemistry channels and I feared that some BS policy had shut all of you down.

kdawg3484 - 2018-04-26

I find these videos to be just as interesting as ones where you succeed at a reaction. Your job here is to teach, and this does exactly that.

Shroom Lab - 2018-04-25

Make a vid on how to make tar, raised my interest now

Kerstin - 2018-04-25

Love your videos even if it's of failures ^^

tek413 - 2018-04-25

Reaction question at 2:30 yes we want to watch it, and anymore videos you can put up would be better, because I enjoy listening to you. Not the creepy way, ok well very much but not the bad way.
Rock on, and sorry to hear how u feel about the commercial venture.

Thank you for putting up
With us amatures and others and bringing great content to the table

Rexiel Decierdo - 2018-04-25

Hi NurdRage! I am your fan since 2011 and you're one of my inspiration in pursuing chemistry degree. I would just like to ask if you have an anonymous e-mail (I know you value your privacy and persona so much. Any form of correspondence would just be fine). I just have a few scientific of course questions for you. Hope you notice me.

Guilherme Eduardo Carvalho - 2018-04-25

I read something somewhere about electrolysis of sodium salts dissolved in aprotic solvents producing sodium metal.

Mike Guitar - 2018-04-25

I've read this too. It probably needs good solubility of the salt. I guess this means a solvent that is polar as well as inert, and aprotic. Propylene carbonate is apparently the most commonly used one for this. Ethylene carbonate may be similar. I wonder if even THF might work.

Gareth Dean - 2018-04-25

This is what I love about this channel, that it uploads not just general overviews and successful results, but also failures. From it we can learn what has been tried and why it did not work. Like a scientific paper it can help expand knowledge and avoid wasteful repetition.

frollard - 2018-04-26

Thank you as always for sharing.

ColdyBright - 2018-04-25

Winston! How’s it hangin!

Eric Hansen - 2018-04-27

Hey there NurdRage. I wanted to say you make some great videos. I know you also like sharing your knowledge on making complexed reagents, solvents and products to use in other reactions... Have you ever thought about or considered making a video on how to make dimethylgloxime? I know it's used in the analysis of palladium or nickel but not much information on how to produced it.

NurdRage - 2018-04-27

I've always been wanting to make that one actually. It's one of the few complexing reagents that's actually doable by the amateur. I'm not sure when i'll get around to it, but its definitely something i'll try... eventually...

Chemical Engineer - 2018-04-25

@NurdRage Have you tried other solvents instead of tetralin? Like dioxane, tertiary amines, mineral oil, molten parrafin wax?

Randy Bushman - 2018-04-25

Please make simpler videos. I want to do chemistry with stuff I have under my sink. Me and several other people don’t have access to the stuff you’re using. Remember the golden pennies? Do stuff like that

James Van Daele - 2018-04-25

Very cool. I just had a failure where I combined aluminum and gallium to see if the reaction in water would be more vigorous than the oxide layer that usually forms, partial failure I should say, as the non-gallium aluminum I was using as control stopped about 35 hours before the gallium aluminum did.

Quantum - 2018-04-25

Please do upload a video of the sodium method. While largely the same, the small changes make things interesting.

inue windwalker - 2018-04-25

I don't care what you do as long as you are happy lol

Dalton Growley - 2018-04-25

i like these, lets call them less than successful, videos as much as the more successful ones failures are good for learning

aga - 2018-04-25

Keep at it !

Andrew Grabon - 2018-04-25

I would like to see it filmed please.

BlueChem - 2018-04-26


JamesG - 2018-04-25

With a lifetime of practice some individuals can improve. Of late I have occasionally left some room for doubt even after opening my mouth. I hope you might see my success as a beacon of hope. ;-)

Murphy deffa - 2018-04-25

Sodium and potasium by electrolysis using propylene carbonate? I did use that once to make potasium out of potasium idodine.

PlutoniumJesus - 2018-04-25

Being eager to acknowledge failures and willing to openly analyze them is one of the most reliable indicators of intelligence. Thanks for allowing us to benefit from your experience.

thebestofall007 - 2018-04-25

Could you use dioxane to make potassium without electrolysis?

Gary Carone - 2018-04-26

I did get NaK to work with Mg reduction method. This was completely by mistake. I started with KOH and added what I thought was KOH from another source to see if I was having impurity issues with my KOH. Turns out what I thought was KOH was NaOH. When I finally got the reaction working and went to pick out what I thought was K, my tweezers went right through it. So I cooled the flask in ice water and the metal was still a liquid! So I definitely made NaK. I have not tried to make just Na though. This reaction is extremely fussy to get working, I ran it about 6 times before I yielded anything, trying various solvents. Mineral oil wasn't working, but I think it might be, because my source has vitamin E in it. Tryed lamp oil and the boiling point is to low. What eventually worked was Vaseline and lamp oil, it does turn very dark though, just like your tetrahydronaphthalene, did when you cleaned it up with Na. Still experimenting and if I get anything interesting, I'll make a video. I also got it to work with moth balls dissolved in lamp oil. Tetrahydronaphthalene is too expensive for me to get. Is there anyway to make it, I'm not too versed in organic chemistry, I wonder if it could be made from moth balls, since they are naphthalene, just need to get the tetrahydro part on it. Lol. Also this reaction really eats up the bottom of the flask, I even tried using an oil bath, so the temperature stayed lower. It doesn't look like you have that problem with your glassware. Is there a trick to keeping the KOH from reacting with the glass?