Re: A Cool Billion ! Roll Up, Roll Up !
In a high school chemistry class many years ago, the teacher stepped out for a minute and a fellow student decided to heat their metal pencil sharpener in a Bunsen flame "to see what would happen". As it happens, the metal was a magnesium aluminium alloy - the magnesium ignited, which in turn ignited the aluminium.
The eye-searing white light caused my colleague to panic, and he threw it (along with the tongs) into a stainless steel sink that happened to be full of water. This created a very Dr. Who like scene, with an astoundingly bright light shining up out of the sink, accompanied by the water furiously bubbling from the hydrogen as the burning metal stripped the oxygen from the water.
Alas, the spectacle only lasted a few seconds, but when it was done, there was a ghostly outline of a pencil sharpener made out of tiny spheres of iron (I think, from the impurities in the alloy) welded to the bottom of the sink.