It was quite a surprise to learn that thermite isn’t just rust and aluminum powder, but describes any combination of metal powder, metal oxide, and optionally fuel mixed together in a reactive ratio. [sciencewithscreens] shows us some of the properties of a copper (II) oxide based thermite.
We can only assume he has a thing for copper as an element. After growing his copper crystal it wasn’t long before he followed a winding road of copper based experiments and found himself with a supply of copper (II) oxide after rendering it from common household chemicals. He had two missions for it. The first was to witness an unfettered copper oxide based thermite reaction. Some had assured him it was practically explosive. The other was to attempt refining pure copper using the reaction. That would be pretty cool considering it all started out as an impure blend of laundry detergents and fertilizer.
The unrestrained reaction was exactly as explodey as he hoped. The thermite dramatically lit when the electric match was powered on and the reaction was almost too fast for the high speed mode of his camera to capture. Emboldened, he moved onto the thermite refining of pure copper.
Unfortunately the second step wasn’t as rewarding. A mix of too much borax and tamping the mixture down produced a slowly smoldering and sputtering reaction instead of the slow but uniformly hot one desired. He did end up with quite a few nodules of what is likely pure copper, so that’s a win in our book. Video after the break.