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01/28/2004 - Thermite Demo!

Ever wonder how welding was done on the transcontinental railroad or how the early settlers did any sort of welding?  In this meeting, we explored the various "qualities" of thermite and tried different ways to ignite the reaction.  Thermite is a mixture of fine aluminum powder and iron oxide (good old rust).

When mixed in the correct ratios and then heated, this mix produces an extremely exothermic (hot) reaction.  the reaction is so hot that is has the ability to melt through most metals instantly and turn them into glowing hot molten metal.  In the old days, this reaction was used to melt metals and weld them together.  Instead of a thermite starter, sometimes all that was used was a good old stick of dynamite, which the railroad workers had plenty of.

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