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Tuesday, January 10, 2017


I originally title this post Chemistry!, but by the time I got done I had decided it needed something a little stronger.

Reaction between Bromine and Aluminum

Deliberate daughter has started a chemistry class and I am following along. Lesson 1 includes a video of Aluminum reacting with Bromine. I was surprised how much smoke was generated from the small amount of liquid. But now I want to more about this Bromine stuff. I mean you never run into it. Just what the heck is it anyway?

Periodic Table with a few elements pointed out
Note where Aluminum and Bromine reside in the Periodic Table. Aluminum is our well known friend, used to make airplanes, new Ford F-150 pickup truck bodies, beer cans and aluminum foil.

Bromine is kind of obscure. It is one of the Halogens, highly reactive gases. Florine and Chlorine are two popular examples. They are in the pink column in the above chart, right next to the Orange column at the right hand side that contains the inert gases like Helium, Argon and Neon. Only Argon is shown in the chart.

People used to use Bromine for a number of things, but most of those applications have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. These days all it seems to be used for is

  • as a disinfectant for hot tubs (like chlorine for swimming pools), 
  • drilling mud (as in drilling for oil), 
  • facilitating the production of other chemical compounds, and 
  • Halogen lightbulbs

Halogen lightbulbs was a surprise. I had no idea. I had never even made the connection between Halogen lights and the Halogen family of elements. I think I had them confused with the inert gases. I mean they make lights using Neon and Xenon, maybe Halogen is just a fancy name for them. No, Wrong. How did I miss this?
In the video up top, Nile (that's what I'm calling him) alludes to making your own bromine, for which he has another video. We get into some real chemistry here.

Making Elemental Bromine (from household items)

"Greasing the joints with concentrated sulfuric acid". Are you freaking kidding me?  How the hell could you do something like that? This is an alien land we are dealing with.

Update two days later, made a bullet list out of the uses of bromine.

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