Thermite From An Etch A Sketch; Yes It Can Be Done!


Hi everyone! Welcome back, Cody’s Lab. So my friend Grant Thompson and the YouTube channel “What’s Inside” did a video on what’s inside an etch a sketch. Now, Grant Thompson’s part of the video was they attempted to make thermite using the aluminum powder contained within these. Because apperently they contain aluminum powder. Now, they weren’t able to get it to work and so Grant Thompson actually contacted me and asked if I could figure out a way to get it to work. So, lets break it open, and find out. [sound of shattering glass] That did it. Sort of… Okay I got it open. There, lets dump this out and see what we get. Looks like I’m going to have to sift all the broken glass out of it now. Remind me next time I do this not to shatter the glass Cause this is, you know, all over the place and actually I wasn’t able to get all the glass pieces out you can see little tiny bits of glass in here. Well anyway, Grant Thompson figured out that there were little plastic beads in here and that seems to be primarily what this is. I did a bit of research on my own and I found that the plastic beads are actually polystyrene and their purpose is to keep the aluminum from clumping. But you’re definitely not going to be able to make thermite using these plastic beads because plastic doesn’t… react with iron oxide making a thermite like reaction. So I’m going to have to find a way to get those beads out of there, and my, this aluminum is sticky. I’m also thinking that maybe the aluminum has something coating it. Making it more sticky like this. It’s almost like an oil in fact. So my guess is it’s got like paraffin oil or something on there. So I’m gonna have to find something to remove the polystyrene beads and the coating on the aluminum. Now, what dissolves styrofoam, you know, polystyrene? Well, acetone. That almost looks like mercury now. Look at this. It might be kinda hard to pour off, ’cause look at how it’s like, floating. This might still work after all. ‘Cause I’ve noticed that the polystyrene didn’t actually dissolve, it just kinda got sticky and clumped together. So, I was easily able to pull out a blob of the plastic here. I think my gloves are melting too, so I probably should switch these out. But now, it looks like I’ve got aluminum powder floating on acetone. How about I filter it. That way, I’ll be able to capture the aluminum particles from most of the acetone, which potentially has bunches of stuff dissolved into it. We’ll then run through the filter. Well, at least the particle size of the aluminum is not small enough to go through this filter. That is really weird how that reacts. It’s like the aluminum powder works it’s way to the top of the acetone and gets stuck there. Then the acetone evaporates, I assume. So all the acetone dripped out, I’ve rinsed it a couple of times and now I’ve let it dry in the sun. And I’ve got some nice pieces of aluminum powder cake. Hopefully. So here’s some iron oxide And over there’s my aluminum. Let’s mix them together on top of this crucible and see if they’ll react. Little bit of iron… little bit of aluminum here Mix them together, roughly equal amounts by volume. It’s about right That looked promising. That’s a thermite reaction there. It’s not very good, though. Maybe if I got the mixture perfect, it would be better. You see, the idea behind thermite is that aluminum is the more reactive material than iron is. And so the aluminum steals away the oxygen atoms from the iron, leaving pure iron and oxidized aluminum. Well, copper is even less reactive than iron. So, it makes sense that if i were to use copper oxide the aluminum would actually strip away it’s oxygens more strongly than it even did from the iron. Let’s see what happens when I put a little bit of copper oxide this is black, cupric oxide in with the aluminum. Again, putting them together at about equal volumes. Now, I’m using a spoon, because the wind is blowing it all over the place. But now it should keep it together a little bit better. Let’s see if it will light. [cackles] It worked. That was a thermite reaction right there. And you noticed it went a lot faster because of the extra energy released. Now if I look at this closely, I should be able to see little beads of copper. Yeah, I’d say that’s some copper. Might have to go clean it up for you guys to see it, but there it is. Can you see the, uh, reddish color of the metallic copper? Some of you may have made the observation that I didn’t use all of the powder from the Etch-A-Sketch in that test. That was just a very small scale test to see if I could acutally get a reaction. But, since I’ve got this out, I may as well actually finish it off and see how big of a reaction I can make with this. Now, I’m not going to use the acetone exclusively like last time because that kind of made a mess. So this time I’ve wisened up a little bit, I’m gonna use a cheese cloth ’cause the holes in the cheese cloth are just small enough to keep the beads from going through, but the aluminum can’t. So let’s just pour this on here. And give this a shake to see if I can separate these plastic beads without using chemicals. And then of course I’ll wash the powder with acetone. To finish it. Eh.. it’s working. I still don’t think the recovery is very good, but at least this time I’m not going to have to deal with a bunch of sticky… fluid-ized plastic. Since the copper oxide did so well, I think I’m going to produce a bit more. So I have a piece of copper wire here and my little furnace is set for 1,600 degrees. So I’m gonna position this copper just inside of this and then we close the lid… so air will attack the copper when it’s really hot. But not quite molten, so the copper will actually oxidize, just like iron rusts. OK, the copper has been in here for over an hour Let’s pull it out of there and see what happens. And I think the best way to do this will be to grab it from underneath, cause the copper is going to be all nice and soft and squishy. Set it in the pan there. Now the uh… oxide is basically a ceramic, so it’ll just kinda flake off as the… yeah… the different, uh, thermal expansion rates. Just for giggles, I also put a copper penny in there as you can see. And, uh, that’s producing the copper oxide as well. And I contained this ’cause it was sending little pieces everywhere. Dum dun dunnnn… aaaaand.. there it is. I think I can extract a little bit more from the Etch-A-Sketch but… uh… Let’s call that half of what’s actually in there so there’s probably just about one gram of aluminum powder in that Etch-A-Sketch. That’s not very much, is it. But, hey, that is… reactive aluminum powder from a child’s toy. Now all I gotta do is weigh out the amount of copper that I need and it should make something interesting, yeah? So I figure I’m gonna need about two grams of this cupric oxide here. To get the reaction to go perfectly. There… close enough. Hey… there’s actually a piece of a penny right there. That’s cool. It’ll be slightly penny powered. Anyway, I’m just gonna mix these together loosely I don’t want to grind it up into a super fine powder, because that could actually become an explosive. I just want this to burn fast, I don’t want it to go “kaboom”. So there’s my copper thermite mixture and I’m actually going to set it off in the top of this well… bottom actually, of this tin can here. That way, I can see if it can melt through anything. Set it on this cast iron skillet. Gonna light it with my micro torch. Guys, it actually burned through this tin can I mean… that’s not much of a feat, but I think this is probably the first time anyone’s ever actually burned through something using an Etch-A-Sketch. That is amazing. Just about two and a half grams of the thermite, too. Ofcourse it’s gonna take quite a few Etch-A-Sketch’s to melt a lock, but I think we’re gonna do it. Hope you guys enjoyed, I’ll see you next time. [music]

100 comments

  • Tom The Plummer

    Shh. I made flash powder as a kid. Olde lawn furniture and Scotty fertilizer. Boom and green flash. FBI and cia knowing my door now

    Reply
  • Clone Duece

    Just put some aluminum in some acidic salt water and apply an electric current. Save the etch and sketch

    Reply
  • TheHowLord

    8:35 Look at his left hand he be the bleed

    Reply
  • DracoEX

    your finger is bleeding at 8:44 did you cut yourself?

    Reply
  • Ultimo

    There may be a flame retardant mixed with the aluminum.

    Reply
  • Glitchy Glitch

    You're one step from turning into Walter White, and it's cancer.

    Reply
  • Michael Robertson

    That's funny I was thinking the same thing with the Etch-a-Sketch

    Reply
  • ExopMan

    Why don't we hear more about Al2O3 + CuO reaction? Only traditional thermite rxn.

    Reply
  • Toastyy

    4:31 Black cooper c0ck side

    Reply
  • Riovo Gaming

    9:08 it's like a light saber

    Reply
  • IGet Bored

    anyone notice he was bleeding?

    Reply
  • Fiona Vaughn

    Yo where did you get the teacup at 5:17? It's gorgeous and I want a whole set of them. Did it come with a matching saucer?

    Reply
  • Andy_12 _

    8:44 bleeding from left hand.

    Reply
  • Ephilorex

    When you mix fuel, metal oxide and metal powder in just the right way, it burns at 2000 degrees Celsius. Hot enough to cut through nearly any barrier known to man.

    Reply
  • underverser

    U.S. Fire Administration reports sudden increase of household fires with kids involved… Hmmm? Wonder why that is…. 😒

    Reply
  • Nick X

    Shirt waaaay undersized for you Cody.

    Reply
  • Russian Bot

    Thunderf00t beat you to it

    Reply
  • madhavi nowduru

    i thought he would use it so much it produces thermite.

    Reply
  • Every Day I’m Struggling

    Give me some gasoline and a lighter and I’ll make anything catch on fire

    Reply
  • AmKam Omega

    Love the outro music

    Reply
  • The Variety Show

    Bro you also need magnesium

    Reply
  • James Worden

    3:20 wtf? Was that a goat?

    Reply
  • Matt Britland

    Glad i found ur channel. Watched quite a few videos of urs now. Very very interesting. Ur an extremely smart guy. Love ur content

    Reply
  • wwtapsable

    haha nobody will ever be able to murder me by locking me in a toystore until i starve ill mcguyver up some thermite and melt the lock

    Reply
  • Ravenel Curry V

    where do you get all these materials

    Reply
  • Crazy Chicken 40

    at 8:44 you can see a drop of blood on his finger

    Reply
  • Manuel Pouparina

    I would like to see you make a video to prove what your shirt says

    Reply
  • Sigyn

    NileRed is chaotic good. Cody'sLab is chaotic neutral.

    Reply
  • Dorg

    Next epiode of codys lab thermite from back of p3ncils and thermite from steel toed boots

    Reply
  • color your world

    Separation could be much more simple. Polystyrene floats on water, aluminum powder shouldnt, water evaporates…

    Reply
  • Iso specs

    Hes gonna have cancer when hes like 30 lol😂 aluminum with bare hands!?! Your crazy lol

    Reply
  • ZeroWolfAlfa

    as a non kemist, you said the idea was for the Aluminum to steal electrons frpm Iron or Cupper to get the heat of the reaction, could you have more steps maby other metals as " aluminium, Iron and cupper" iron stelas from cupper, and then auminium steals from iron. you get the idea.

    Reply
  • mark p

    Do we really need to take out the plastic?

    Reply
  • itre bebag99

    Up yours, Thunderf00t!

    Reply
  • Michael Herrmann

    Your supposed to use the nobs, Cody. 🙂 Lol

    Reply
  • Wes Johnson

    This dude works at Gamestop

    Reply
  • Derek Zhu

    did anyone see him bleed? left ring finger 8:44

    Reply
  • holling harris

    that is the most unsafe way ive ever seen anyone light thermite

    Reply
  • Whos that guy?

    oh cody, wear some gloves when handling aluminium powder, pretty pleeeeeeeease

    Reply
  • Zeftax

    cpt. D is that you?

    Reply
  • UmbetenDig225

    Add some C4 into the mix and you have one hell of an explosion

    Reply
  • David Goans

    As soon as I saw this idiots t-shirt that he's wearing I decided not for me why are you teaching little children how to make explosives this video should not even be on YouTube

    Reply
  • Kitarya Kysubae

    Well, I learned and alternative way to make thermite. Cupric oxide is easier to make anyway.

    Reply
  • Jacob Ruttan

    I hated chemistry in school but I fucking live your videos bro

    Reply
  • Chuck Oneill

    The beads are to produce the static electricity, which attracts the aluminum powder to the glass. It’s called triboelectricity.

    Reply
  • Red Plays

    Criminal : Do you have a last request before you die?

    Cody: can I have a couple of Etch a Sketch?

    Reply
  • SleepFaster18

    Wow. This actually got recommended to me somehow.

    Reply
  • Steven Gagnon

    Step 1. Dont break glass and disassemble accordingly.
    Step 2. maybe burn plastic off

    Reply
  • RGH_x_TRYHARD

    I mean walter white made thermite out of etcha sketch

    Reply
  • Hans Pcguy

    Could you oxidize the copper by running current through it to heat it up? Then you could just watch it oxidize.

    Reply
  • twenty one cries for help

    Yo cody you cut your hand 3 years ago. I think your still bleeding and should get a plaster or somthing

    Reply
  • Oddgeir

    Cue MacGyver theme.

    Reply
  • Erik van Ravenstein

    How many etch-a-sketches to make the World Trade Center crumble to dust …

    Reply
  • bob barker

    Star stuff? That's a good one lmao

    Reply
  • Noone Jones

    Take all the top smart and resourceful YouTubers and if the shit hits the fan, civilization will be started again ASAP.

    Reply
  • Desmond Bagley

    …….CuO2 more reactive than iron oxide and again PbO2 would be still more reactive again……let's not take this further..it would create lead fumes anyway.

    Reply
  • TheKurtChaney

    Mormons are wrong

    Reply
  • Blue

    Hi I recommend you to use a ballmill. So you can do the experiments much better by reducing the size of the chemical particles

    Reply
  • My Fortress Construction

    (Prison Warden) "Why are all of the inmates getting Etch A Sketches in the mail?"

    Reply
  • gage bellinger

    i use to think it was graphite powder in etch a sketchs

    Reply
  • Mike Raymond

    Next video – Al, KClO4, S

    Reply
  • alex carter

    I wonder if methanol (yellow HEET) would work? Wash off the Al while not melting the polystyrene?

    Reply
  • Nathan Paulson

    Ya Mr white!

    Reply
  • Farzher

    8:44 is he dripping blood?

    Reply
  • John Levine

    wild way of opening it

    Reply
  • Prepper Daze

    What if mixed with ammonia nitrate ? Tannerite ?

    Reply
  • mr stupid

    0:06 r.i.p

    Reply
  • Matt Grillz

    :/ cant believe he's gone aye..

    Reply
  • Matt Grillz

    9:02 –

    Ha ha
    Its Mr. 305 checkin' in for the remix
    You know thats 75 Street Brazil?
    Well this year gon' be called Calle Ocho
    Ha ha ha ha
    Que ola cata
    Que ola omega
    And this how we goin' do it

    Reply
  • mathias hejl

    rip grant <3

    Reply
  • Ramsay Sterling

    Rip

    Reply
  • matthew veinotte

    Casual open wound in the last clip. no mention about it. K

    Reply
  • Mr Reverse

    8:50 casually chilling with an open wound dripping blood, Man this guy loves science.

    Reply
  • Jimbo Nutron

    Throw some c4 into the mix and you’ll have one hell of an explosion

    Reply
  • gabedotsuccs

    "Time to ring some ears."

    Reply
  • Giuzeppe Edrei Meimban

    Nobody:
    Youtube: have you heard about what happened to grant?

    Reply
  • Lamb Sauce

    Really big fucking sketch comin’ right up

    Reply
  • Yasunori Tsuchida

    Shouldn't you use a stoicimetric ratio of 3 parts iron (III) oxide to 1 part aluminum?

    Reply
  • Michael

    RIP GRANT 😞😞

    Reply
  • Alexander Wingeskog

    In the late 70's I had one… until I decided I wanted to look silvery somehow… So I broke it and smeared myself with that stuff and later woke my mom up. The look on her face!
    Sad thing is I only have a picture on my own face in the bath looking all silvery though left.

    Reply
  • killops all day

    he cut himself

    Reply
  • MedievalBomber

    Noooo I heard grant thompson in the start noooooo 🙁

    Reply
  • Inferno

    What about hibana?

    Reply
  • sellingthewind

    8:44 Cody is the man. starts the episode with gloves, ends bleeding with shit all over his hands and happy.

    Reply
  • OutRunHNS

    Hope your bloody finger healer:)

    Reply
  • Septiplier Gaming

    Who else thought of Breaking Bad while watching this?

    Reply
  • Greg Ivers

    Bleeding? Tin cut huh?

    Reply
  • Noc

    RIP Grant

    Reply
  • Amber Hoffman currie

    Aww….u cut your self. : (

    Reply
  • Battery Charger

    I want to see you eat off that cast iron skillet lol

    Reply
  • Michael Hanna

    rest in piece grant.

    Reply
  • Donnie Merritt

    Could the aluminum powder be used as it is with the beads to make some tannerite?

    Reply
  • Brandon Wetterman

    Cody alot of us enjoy watching you please dont stop . Thank you friend from Michigan.

    Reply
  • Silica

    Cody MAD LAD xD

    Reply
  • Minecraft Cool

    My bro cut his finger somewhere at the end

    Reply
  • C J

    The glass shards just add shrapnel

    Reply
  • Fire in the hole

    8:43 you've got blood on ya finger. Thoes cans are no joke

    Reply
  • Robert Alexander

    But jet fuel doesn’t melt steel beams! Lol randomness

    Reply
  • Red3

    Binge watching all the codys lab videos and I ran across the one about TKORs death and then this is the next video I watch lol

    Reply
  • Ricinine Partypillz

    Wow seems so simple,makes me wonder how folks did it in the bronze age since they didn't have etcha sketch

    Reply

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