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Thermite reaction questions

  1. Oct 4, 2012 #1
    I have three questions about thermite.

    1. Is hydrogen released when thermite is placed in water or is it just steam?

    2. How can I separate the aluminum oxide from the iron after the reaction?

    3. Can the aluminum oxide be split apart into oxygen and aluminum?

    Any knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    First of all, thermite reaction.[tex]Fe_2O_3+Al \rightarrow Fe(molten)+Al_2O_3[/tex]

    1.) I can't see any hydrogen here. If you are placing it in water, its just steam. Thermite, as its name may suggest, is very exothermic, so much that the iron produced is actually produced in molten form.

    2.) Iron is formed in molten form and Aluminium oxide floats on it as slag.

    3.) You can collect all that oxide, heat them until they fuse (Alumina) they electrolyze it to obtain aluminium.
  4. Oct 5, 2012 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Good luck heating it up to 2000 °C. We don't use cryolite (or its equivalents) as a flux without a reason.
  5. Oct 5, 2012 #4
    How much electricity would I need to separate the two?

    The aluminum would already be at 2500 degrees from the actual thermite reaction.
  6. Oct 5, 2012 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    This one is simple - check Faraday's law of electrolysis.

    It will be at 2500, but do you have something to contain it in? Do you have an electrode material capable of surviving so high temp?

    Sorry, it doesn't sound like something we want to discuss here. Too risky for my liking.
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