Lithium into 7 Up – Periodic Table of Videos

published on July 20, 2020

Brady and Neal thought it might be fun to try and add a piece of metallic lithium to 7up the reason for this is that long ago 7up used to contain lithium salts so they thought it'd be a bit of a joke they bought a bottle of 7up this is not product placement and

They poured some into a beaker and dropped in a piece of lithium of course it bubbled partly the co2 coming out of the fizzy drink partly the hydrogen from the reaction but what was surprising is that the

Solution started to go pale green and then it went a reddish brown color and by the time I went into the lab looked like beer the obvious first stage is little metal reacts with water to form lithium hydroxide which is an alkali

That alkali might react further with the other components of 7up and if you read about it it contains sugar natural lemon and lime flavor whatever that is and it also contains no caffeine so there's no caffeine chemistry here

The first question is how would the acidity or alkalinity of the solution change so we measured the pH of fresh 7up which turned out to be slightly acidic as you might expect if you dissolve carbon dioxide into water and

We measured the acidity of the 7up plus lithium and again as expected it was pretty alkaline so a possible explanation for the color is that it was produced by the alkaline conditions and the alkali was causing a reaction of the

Other components of the 7up lithium salts are completely colorless they're all white just like table salt so the question is why is it going colored and brown I suggested an experiment if it was the alkaline we should get a similar

Effect if we put sodium hydroxide which is a strong alkali into some 7up to begin with nothing happened neil and bragged he got quite excited that professors wrong you see one up for them but then as we watched the pellets of

Sodium hydroxide started developing a red color almost as if they were bleeding it was really rather beautiful and the color began to develop it was reacting slowly much more slowly than the reaction that

We saw with lithium we noticed that the lithium hydroxide one the one that we put lit in metal the solution was quite hot and Neil dipped a thermocouple into the sodium hydroxide plus 7up and found that that

Surface was nearly at room temperature but down where the color was developing it was quite warm nearly 50 degrees you might say why wasn't it convecting well of course the concentrated solution of sodium hydroxide is very dense so you

Get less convection that you would normally in water we added some more sodium hydroxide and the color developed and so the reason why temperature is important is because most reactions of organic compounds like

The sugars in the 7up double their rate for each 10 degrees centigrade that you go up so if you go from room temperature 20 to 30 to 40 to 50 the rate will go up about eight times doubling each time so that would explain the difference by

This time the lithium beaker was looking pretty dark and you can really tell what color it was so I suggested that we diluted a bit into water so we've got a beaker of water not 7up just pure water and added a little bit of the solution

And it looked as a yellowy brown color suddenly I thought perhaps whatever colored compound we'd made might be an indicator you know that changes color if you go from acid to alkali so Neel had some concentrated sulfuric acid which a

Bit fierce so he diluted that and we poured in the sulfuric acid and much to my pleasure it went completely colorless so whatever we made change color depending on the pH depending on the acidity

Then I wondered what would happen if we added more alkaline and when we ended more alkali it changed back to color now of course there are two explanations the first one is we may have created an indicator out of 7up the other

Explanation is that whatever was reacting in the 7up there was still some in the water and that reacted with the alkali again so you can't be absolutely sure what happened in the final stage but if they seem to behave like an

Indicator when we put in more alkaline it could be that that compound changed back or it could be that there was still sugar in the solution and we just made more of the starting compound and you can't really tell the difference without

More careful experiments look like an artwork and I persuaded Brady and Neil that we should watch it melting

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