The aluminium and iron oxide experiment is a fun and educational demonstration that teaches about the redox reaction between aluminium and iron oxide. It is also great for showing that even if a chemical reaction occurs spontaneously, there may be some control over the rate and direction of the reactions.
The reaction burns extremely fast and hot, so make sure the place you are using is well ventilated and not too close to flammable materials like wood or paper. You should also stand back from the reaction to keep from burning yourself or spreading the flame to other objects.
You can use a ceramic container for this experiment but you need to be aware that it can break from excess heat. In addition, you should never let children do this experiment as it can lead to permanent eye damage or worse.
To make thermite, combine powdered iron oxide and aluminum powder in a ceramic container. Insert a strip of magnesium in the mixture, light it and then stand back.
A molten blob of iron is created from this reaction and it makes a fantastic show. It's also a good way to teach about the thermite redox reaction.
High-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that the coating on the aluminum particle was amorphous and did not form a crystalline hercynite phase. In addition, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) results of the product particle with and without the amorphous coating showed that the coating did not form a mixed metal oxide phase.