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Reaction of Sodium and Chlorine


600 mL beaker

100 mL beaker filled with sand

Large Watch Glass (to cover 600 mL beaker)

Small watch Glass (placed on top of small beaker)

Fresh Bleach Solution

Bottle of Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid (12M)

Sodium Metal (need about 3 medium sized pellets)

Plastic forceps

1mL Plastic Dropper

DI Water rinse bottle


Gloves and Goggles




  1. Put a small watchglass on top of the sand in the 100 mL beaker, and place inside the 600 mL beaker.
  2. Using a funnel, pour about 100ml of bleach into the large beaker, then cover with a large watchglass.
  3. With tweezers, place 2-3  0.5cm3 pieces of sodium with a clean side on top of the small watchglass.
  4. Squirt a few pipetfulls of concentrated HCl into the bleach to generate chlorine gas. The color of the bleach/HCl solution should be green and have lots of bubbles. If it isn't green more HCl should be added.
  5. Add 2-3 drops of water to the sodium, cover the beaker with the large watchglass. The heat from the reaction of water with sodium gets the sodium hot enough to react with the chlorine.
  6. The hot sodium reacts with the chlorine gas, burning with a bright yellow flame.


2Na (s) + Cl2 (g) --> NaCl (s)

dH (def = -411 kJ/mole