Photo by C Lloyd at SSERC (Public Domain)

Because it reacts so violently with water, it is easy to assume that sodium reacts violently with everything. In particular, most people assume that it is highly flammable.

In this demonstration, a Bunsen burner is trained on a small piece of sodium (placed on a fire brick) and this shows just how long it takes for it to catch fire.

As an extension, if a gas jar filled with chlorine is inverted over the top of the burning sodium it will burn vigorously with a bright orange flame, producing clouds of white sodium chloride smoke.

Burning sodium in air and chlorine

Burning sodium in air and chlorine – risk assessment