> chemistry > métaux-alcalins > make-sodium-magnesium-oxide-aggregate-mg-naoh-fire-nurdrage

Make Sodium Magnesium Oxide Aggregate - A Substitute for Sodium Metal

NurdRage - 2017-04-15

In this video we make sodium magnesium oxide aggregate. A useful substitute for sodium metal in most cases.

Doing this is very simple, we combine 30g of magnesium metal turnings or powder and 40g of sodium hydroxide in a metal container. The mixture is ignited with sparklers or a fuse and the container is covered with a heavy lid to protect it from air. The mixture will burn and generate hydrogen gas. What's produced is a mixture of sodium metal interspersed with magnesium oxide. While not pure sodium, it has much of the same reactivity and can be used for solvent drying in place of sodium. 

Because the aggregate is highly reactive, even toward air, it is recommended to store the aggregate under an inert solvent like toluene or mineral oil.

Related videos:
Nighthawkinlights video on making sodium: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seSg_GWj1b0

Make dioxane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zzrn-61XAY

Purify triethylamine with sodium: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQnUeHOa6ow

Donate to NurdRage!
Through Patreon (preferred): https://www.patreon.com/NurdRage
Through Bitcoin: 1NurdRAge7PNR4ULrbrpcYvc9RC4LDp9pS

Glassware generously provided by http://www.alchemylabsupply.com/
Use the discount code "nurdrage" for a 5% discount.

Social media links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NurdRage
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NurdRageYoutube/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nurdrageyoutube/

This video generously sponsored by my patrons:
Michael Zappe
Alex S.
Cullen Purkis
Simon Bitdiddle
Phillip Hutchings
Matthew Brunette
Jon Stanovich
Emil Mikulic
Lord Martin Hill
Samuel Pelzer
Robert Boll
Andrea Nall
Jacob Gruber
Stephen Stair
Marius Klimantavičius
Max Loutzenheiser
Wesley Gardner
Daniel Astbury
The King of Homestyle
Bobby Nansel
Brian Nietfeld
Michael Gregg
Bryan Boettcher
Martel DuVigneaud
Dror Kronstein
Benjamin Nied
Antton Tapani
Mark Rose
doug dysart
Micha Gorelick
David Drueding
Kay Bærulfsen
Dom Vasta
Matt Sieker
Florent Parent
Craig M.
Syam Krishnan
Marcio Yukio Teruya
Timothy Vincent
Danny Chan
Miguel-Angel Gutierrez
Casey Kikendall
Craig House
Myndert Papenhuyzen
Mark Beeunas
Jeffrey Morse
George Jefferies
Braxton Thomason
Leon Verrall
Hy Diep
Michal Z
Timothy Glore
Zane Bacon
Akshay Joshi
Ben Anderson
Applied Science
Åsmund Tveten
Wolf Bennett
Christian Cooper
Triple Cee
Pascal De Lisio
Henry Wu
Chase Curtis
Jason Brammer
James McIlhargey
Damien P
Mark Keibler
Bas Hessels
Jessica Porter
Connor Reed
Collin B Douglas
Rob Parker
Donald W
Paul Grodt
Dean Bailey
Samuel Ytterbrink
Magnus Ott Kartin
John Wasser
Daniel Åland
David Gilmour
Daniel L.
Julian Nicolai
Joshua Books
Joshua Rogers
Dean Leggo
Sac LeGaie
Aner Nitsan
Grey Shot
Jean-Marc Bélisle
Mecha Chocobo
Adrian Kleven
Joshua Crager
Rebecca Chung
Bill Noren
l.h. riley
Evan Schuld
Jason King
Yuli Talyansky
Chris M Guerra
Leonard Marshall
Marc Ethier
John Bonnin
Greg Emmons
Mark L
Tyler Faruque
Daniel McLaughlin
Joshua L Digiacomo
Al Longley
Star Ape
Christian Ullrich
Output Coupler
Meagan McLay
Joe Szymanski
Rauni Kangas
Andrew Montagne
Kamen Milchev
Jeff LeBell
Charles Harris
Daniel Baizel
Robert H. Guinn
Tristan Putzeys
Johann Massyn
Mark Oberfield
Curt Fischer
Hannah Walters
Emil Lund
Scott Blanchette
Andy Hims
T. Vladimir Vosselman
Kristian Ferencik
Andrew crawley
Michael Kavulich
Ben Russell
Dario Goddin
Adam Sidelsky
Randi Silva
Ed McMullen
H Lambert
Jacob Rodriguez
Benedikt Müller
Evan "Endar" Miller
Robert Kennymore
Thomas Phipps
Jordan Blackman
Martins Latvis
Louis Lan
Project 54/74
Jay Gillikin
William Taoist
Joshua Graham
Ivik Injerd
Bob Hayward
Bennet Huch

Aussie Chemist - 2017-04-15

That sounds the laugh from a crazy evil scientist, the same laugh I got when I made nitroglycerin ( by the way can it be used in birch reduction?)

Rob Newland - 2017-04-16

Aussie Chemist my main concern with using it for the Birch reduction is will you be able to know exactly the amount of sodium per gram? Or is it analogous to using something like potassium graphite?

Aussie Chemist - 2017-04-16

by controlling the amount of Mg and NaOH that start with the rough amount of Na can be estimated, like you said, it would not be exact. but since Na is used to release free electrons, as long as that being achieved i dont see there is a major problem there. as free electrons are key to the birch reduction, Like NR mentioned it can be a problem to remove the desirable product from the messy mixture. since i have all the precursors, it not like I have to especially buy the chemicals, so I guess i will give it a go anyway, I mean why not.

Rob Newland - 2017-04-16

Aussie Chemist I mean yeah I see no reason why it wouldn't work (the Birch reduction is a key step in the synthesis of one of my precursors I use in my PhD so I'm quite familiar with it) but you may end up with incomplete reduction due to the imprecise stoichiometry. Also for substrates that could be over-reduced that may be a problem if you unknowingly add too much sodium.

Aussie Chemist - 2017-04-16

wow it seems there are punch of people with high degrees hanging around in the comment section, since i have not yet finished my high school course i guess Im just gonna be a quite reader from now on

Adrian Henle - 2017-04-18

Nah man, ask every question you can! Reading is good, but formulating a useful question is awesome practice for understanding this stuff.

Bruce Vieira Lopes - 2017-04-15


Science is Kind of Cool - 2017-04-15

Bruce Vieira Lopes muahahaha

NurdRage - 2017-04-15

I'm taking my time to make sure the sodium extraction video comes out perfect, there are lots of variables i want to optimize first. So it likely won't be the next immediate video, but the video after. For certain i'll have sodium extraction released this month.

qwerty qwerty - 2017-04-23

You're practically right.

Synthesis daclatasvir


Look down

user21XXL - 2017-04-23

that reaction with amonium acetate is very intresting thx for sharing

this shows how to get that first molecule from my post
adding a protecting group could be necessary, but im not shure

btw, why are you interested in Synthesis of daclatasvir

Imi Rostás - 2017-07-21

NurdRage can you explain me something?

So if hydrogen gas ignited then it forms water (steam). And that water should instantly react with the sodium. My question is why sodium in the container can be found in elemental form after the reaction is done?

apos vlah - 2017-07-21

Imi Rostás jesus ... Is high school basic knowledge...

Frankium - 2017-07-21

Imi Rostás The reaction is extremely exothermic, thus the container becomes very hot and pressurizes, so any gases present are forced out of the container, much like propane is forced out of a gas cylinder when you open it. The H2 cannot form water until it touches O2 and there is no O2 present in the container. This method is not perfect and the elemental Na will still be exposed to small amounts of CO2, O2, H2O and other oxidants in the air, but the loss of product will be reasonably small as long as you cover the container after the reaction.

DecomPiler - 2017-04-16

I love the maniacal laugh at 1:55

Shawn Hawkins - 2017-04-15

the turnings are called "swarf" in machinist lingo

Ricardo Villamizar Rodríguez - 2017-04-15

NurdRage: I'd like to translate some of your videos to Spanish. Can you activate the option, so I can help?. Thanks a lot.

GiggitySam Entz - 2017-04-26

If I wanna do it, what precautions do I need ? :D
So big brick on can shielded with some bricks. Fire extinguisher nearby. Outside. In a lab coat. With specs on. And a camera.

Tgernos - 2017-04-15

nice video, i recently just began my Chemistry studium in switzerland

alway's great to see new stuff from your channel

NurdRage - 2017-04-15

Thanks for watching!

omar vela - 2020-02-13

will this reaction work for potassium the enthalpy of formation is almost exactly the same for potassium hydroxide as sodium hydroxide

metalhead_jtk - 2017-04-15

0:32 What did you do to that beaker? It's all sagged and wobbly, must have been some high temperature, haha.

ScreenGames - 2017-04-16

He probably did the aggregate in the beaker before recording 😃

Beau Remington - 2018-09-10

I love these "mad scientist" types on here. God bless you for educating and entertaining at the self same time.

Renan Silva - 2017-04-15

NurdRage that was the best laugh ever muahahaha

GiggitySam Entz - 2017-04-26

2:24 Let the knowledge cool before handling it ? OuQ

IljasMS - 2017-04-15

Here i am, still waiting for the lead dioxide electrodes video...

Stephanie I - 2017-04-16

I always enjoy your videos but this one had me in stitches. Love to see some fun mixed in with education.

Maz mirzakhani - 2018-09-27

Love your videos mate great job!
got couple of question..when you say Aggregate is that mean different to actual chemical compound? do you know if I make a powder out of these does Aggregate would it dissolve (or Solute) in Diethelyn carbonate or Propylene carbonate organic solvent?
Thank you for your help

AntSwift1 - 2017-04-20

1:56 why does that look like a stove and can i cook with it

sinecurve9999 - 2017-04-15

You have a great evil scientist laugh there, NurdRage. :D

Daniel McCarthy - 2017-04-19

dude, love your channel. can you do something similar for lithium extraction? maybe with LiOH? we need a lithium source...

Jaime Carvalho - 2017-05-05

Is it possible to replace the magnesium metal for aluminum in this reaction and yet produce sodium metal?

edi - 2017-09-12

AFAI can remember yes. You can look at redox potential charts.

Adrian Henle - 2017-04-18

Can this be done with lithium hydroxide? I had to do a reaction (repeatedly) in grad school that needed lithium metal, but the product would coat the surface (stalling the reaction). I tried to make a fine lithium dispersion by melting the metal into paraffin and... it didn't go well. Something like this could have been pretty useful.

Doctor_Z - 2017-04-21

Wouldn't this also work to produce potassium since the enthalpy of formation for KOH is nearly the same as for NaOH?

TheSollyLama - 2017-07-27

Just did this reaction and it worked great. Really good yield but I had a good amount of unreacted magnesium powder left in the can. I had fine powder of both ingredients and mixed them well.
Still, excellent way to get sodium to toss into water for demonstrations.

Thank you Nurdrage.

NurdRage - 2017-07-27

oh you're going to love the follow up video "make sodium without electrolysis" where i extend this concept and actually get pure sodium metal.

ProCactus - 2017-04-15

This one looks doable in the backyard :)

BurntFaceMan - 2017-04-15

Looking forward to the next video.
Sodium is very useful interested to see the results.

UnREACHable Chemistry - 2017-04-15

A very neat video. Got me thinking, Youtube user myst32YT has a great video about making sodium peroxide. Could this aggregate be used to make very dirty mixture of MgO, sodium oxide and sodium peroxide? (Any formed magnesium peroxide would probably decompose at the temperature needed to form sodium peroxide...)

Don't Even Bother - 2017-04-15

You always put out the most helpful videos right when i need them...

faareh khaan - 2019-04-26

Can we use another source of ignition other than fuse or sparklers(say, for example match stick)?

Landon Miller - 2019-10-04

Does magnesium oxide work as a substitute? If not, is a chemistry supplier my only option for pure magnesium?

Joshua Nicoll - 2018-01-30

Ok, I just tried this.... It worked but now I have highly reactive sodium in a magnesium oxide sponge :/ . I wouldn't recommend this unless you have a use for sodium.

Noone NeverDi1 - 2019-04-09

is throwing it all in water to see a cool explosion a good use?

twocvbloke - 2017-04-15

I want flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaames!!! :D

R. Ramey - 2017-04-15

Come on we're nearly at 666k subs!

Tường Hà - 2019-01-08

Who love this moment 2:57

jared garden - 2017-04-16

I remember seeing Nighthawks video a few years back but it never occurred to me to use the magnesium oxide sodium mixture just as is for drying. Do you think it would be alright to use this aggregate for drying of the reagents for a grignard reaction like diethyl ether or THF and a ketone/aldehyde and an alkyl halide, i don't think there would be any way for the magnesium oxide to react with any of these but i thought it might be smart to ask before making the foolish mistake of assuming it will; and then screwing up a grignard reaction one day.

NurdRage - 2017-04-16

yes, you can use it to dry ether and THF. But you can't use it for ketone or alkyl halides, because the sodium will react. This is true for pure sodium as well.

Seth Larmand - 2019-10-15

would magnesium citrate work in place of magnesium filings?

VisoredGaming - 2018-01-10

If anyone can give some advice with an issue I'm having with this reaction, it would be very much appreciated. So, when I run through the process, everything goes well and actually runs decently smooth. But, when it's all "finished", I wait a few minutes and then proceed to take the brick off the top, only to find that a burning hot piece of either magnesium metal or the aggregate reacting with the moisture in the air sparks whatever magnesium remains to spontaneously ignite again. This then cuts my yield as the sodium metal already in the can is oxidized due to contact with the air. I'm not sure at all why this happens as I mix my turnings and hydroxide very intimately.

dexterrius - 2017-08-09

nice, but what if you tried Na2O made from Na2CO3 by thermal decomposition? to use less magnesium...

Gustavo Marzullo - 2017-04-15

Why haven't you used iron insted of magnesium since Fe2O3 has a higher ΔH than MgO?

NurdRage - 2017-04-15

there are three oxygen atoms in ferric oxide

joe estes - 2017-04-16

You should make a video on distillation of cesium!

Quimica Ciencia - 2017-04-15


Yusef Daniel Hassoun Harmouch - 2018-01-05

Can you use magnesium supplements? Oh and, where can i buy firestarters?

Zock4 - 2017-04-16

Maybe you could spoiler a little aspect of the soudium purification : How good is the yield ?

Weedus - 2017-07-27

Can you make a Video how you get Magnesium Metal from Epson Salt ?

Buttmeister - 2018-05-10

I wonder if this could be used as a desiccant. muhahahaha

PlanetoidPluto - 2020-02-23

Where can I dispose of the aggregate?

Gary Card - 2017-04-17

Is NurdRage the God of Hellfire? When I heard him laugh as the redox mix reacted and gushed out those orange sodium flares, the 1968 Arthur Brown song came into my head.

LStein - 2017-04-15

could you also do this with postassium hydroxide to form potassium metal?

GiggitySam Entz - 2017-05-03

Okay I've got magnesium powder and NaOH !!! Any tips before I do something stupid ? :DD

Practical Chemistry - 2019-03-22

where can I find magnesium powder

Shaqrifice - 2017-04-15

So with a laugh like that when will you show us your secret lair inside a mountain?

ScreenGames - 2017-04-16

Only fof the price of...

ScreenGames - 2017-04-16


snowdaysrule2 - 2018-04-14

I gave this reaction a try tonight (but on a 1/3rd scale) and used a steel can and instead of a stone block as a lid I used a metal disk with a diameter a few mm smaller than the can that could be placed inside of the can directly on top of the reactants. The disk would be able to lift up slightly as the hydrogen blasted by and then lay flat again to keep oxygen off of things after the reaction was done. Instead of using sparklers as the ignighter I attached the steel can to a long pole using a metal coat hanger and as a heat source I held the can in the flames of a campfire we were having in the backyard. Heating everything in the fire got all the reactants heated up to reaction temp at the same time, so when the reaction kicked off the hydrogen flame that followed was really impressive! The reaction was over in a matter of seconds and everything was going great until it came time to get the hot metal can somewhere safe to cool down. I accidentally disturbed the metal disk for a few seconds allowing oxygen to get into the can and proceeded to see some bright orange glowing which to me was definitely not magnesium but sodium unfortunately. So I have a good feeling that I may have burned up all the sodium I worked so hard to make. Will update after some testing but am feeling pretty bummed for now :/