January 27, 2015 | Georgie

Do you like fireworks and loud bangs? Not sure I do. I find them scary, but I think the science behind them is pretty cool.

Most of us remember the explosions that happen when an alkali metal such sodium is added to water. Scientists used to think they were caused by burning of the hydrogen gas the metals release from water. However, researchers have now used high speed-cameras to film these explosions, and they've found that they are caused by electrical repulsion.

I wonder what impact this discovery might have outside the lab...


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The clue to what's behind the explosions was revealed in less than a millisecond after a sodium droplet entered water.


Image: Flickr/Thorius

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