Sodium hydride and potassium superoxide

Creating loud bangs using sodium hydrate and potassium superoxide

Scientific name: Sodium hydrate and potassium superoxide react with water and produce hydrogen and oxygen


Alkali Metals - 26 Summary and finale

by Royal Society Of Chemistry


Wear lab gloves and eye protection. There is a serious fire risk - a fire extinguisher should be ready. Keep a distance. The explosion may be very loud! Protect your ears.

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

Reaction formula

4KO2 + 2H2O → 4KOH + 3O2

NaH + H2O → NaOH + H2

2H2 + O2 → 2H2O

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Pour some soapy water into a 1l beaker.
  2. Put a piece of sodium hydride and a piece of potassium superoxide into the beaker.
  3. When enough foam forms, ignite it with a long sliver. A small loud explosion will occur.

Scientific background

Sodium hydride reacts with water to form hydrogen. Potassium superoxide reacts with water to form oxygen. These two gases mixed together form an explosive mixture.


Published on 20 April 2015

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