A thermite reaction is basically iron
oxide (rust) reacting with aluminum to produce molten iron. The
reaction is initiated by the heat from burning magnesium ribbon
which is placed in the iron oxide/aluminum mixture, this is the
fuse! (Any heat source can be used to start the reaction but it
needs to be very hot as magnesium burns at about 650°C (1200°F)
A sparkler may work but I have not tried this.)
Because it is spectacular and simple this my favorite reaction!
This reaction is highly exothermic and produces molten metal at
Water should not be used to extinguish the reaction, since addition
of water to hot iron produces potentially explosive hydrogen gas.
Enjoy the pictures below:-
(Click on any image below for a bigger picture)