Making Caesium at Home

By Anupum Pant

Caesium is a soft, silvery-gold coloured alkali metal with a melting point of 28 °C. Like the other alkali metals, it reacts vigorously with water – it explodes when it is put in water. Even in air, it catches fire – due to a spontaneous reaction with the oxygen and water vapour in the air. To store it, an atmosphere of noble gas surrounding the metal has to be used. In all, it is a very interesting metal. And like always, interesting things come at a price.

Caesium is expensive. A gram of it costs about as much as the same weight of gold. So, Thunderf00t – a youtuber – who wanted to be able to go about watching it explode in water, or burn in air all the time, decided to make Caesium at home – using a soap dispenser and a barbecue grill.

Since Caesium boils at a relatively low temperature (of about 700 °C), in theory it can be distilled out when two relatively cheap reactants – Caesium chloride and Lithium – react. Here’s how it can practically be done at home. Amazing!

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