Remember the time the science teacher dropped bits of sodium into a bowl of
water? Students watch in awe as the element skips about, fizzing as it
burns. Well, for one teacher, this tidy little demonstration didn't go
exactly to plan.
A glass safety screen is usually placed between the bowl and the students,
so random bits of sodium don't jump out and scald them. One particular
teacher decided to put the screen over the bowl, lifting it up to drop in
sodium. He did this several times, so all the children could see. When he
was done, he removed the screen from the bowl.
2 Na + 2 H2O = 2 NaOH + H2
Sodium in water produces hydrogen gas. And this teacher had the bad judgement to have a Bunsen burner burning near the edge of his desk. When he lifted the glass screen, the accumuated hydrogen exploded.
The students were just leaving the classroom when they heard an almighty
BANG! They turned back to see the teacher on his ass looking shell-shocked,
with bits of the overhead florescent lighting falling down from the
ceiling. None of the students were hurt (except aches from laughing) and
the teacher really should have known better than to let hydrogen build up.
But that said, in the same department, another teacher accidentally let a
senior student make nitroglycerine. They were picking bits of lab
equipment out of the ceiling for a fortnight. This submission only
qualifies for an At-Risk Survivor since, despite their best efforts, these
science teachers remain in the gene pool.
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Submitted by: Chris (a personal account from my brother)