Combustion of sodium in chlorine

The cylinder is filled with white smoke after adding sodium

Scientific name: Sodium oxidation with chlorine


Chemistry experiment 27 - Reaction between sodium metal and chlorine gas

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Wear eye protection goggles. Work with poisonous gases only outdoors or in a hood.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

2 Na + Cl2 → 2 NaCl


  1. Chlorine
  2. Sodium

Step-by-step instruction

WARNING! This experiment is dangerous! You should NOT perform this at home. ONLY carry out this experiment, if you are a trained chemist, and you understand local safety and legal requirements, which are required to perform such experiments

  1. Obtain chlorine gas. There are many different ways.
  2. Collect chlorine gas into a chemical cylinder or test tube.
  3. Quickly add sodium into the cylinder with chlorine.
  4. Heat the pieces of sodium through the glass over a gas burner or alcohol lamp.
  5. Watch the cylinder fill with white smoke.

Scientific background

Chlorine gas is a strong oxidant. Metallic sodium is oxidized to sodium chloride, which forms the smoke. The interfacial reaction takes place very slowly, so heating is necessary.


Published on 26 March 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst