When I place a chunk of 99,99% pure sodium metal in a beaker of (100% chemically pure) acetone, the sodium metal starts reacting and dissolving into the acetone and it forms a yellow/brown liquid. When the acetone evaporates it leaves a dark-brown goo that is like a gel. And it smells like tar or something similar. What is this substance?


I can suggest only two possibilities:

  1. Your acetone or sodium are not pure. Acetone contains water, or something.

  2. Sodium might react like magnesium does, though it required different conditions. That's possible, but maybe you just discovered a new reaction or had some weird impurities that served as a catalyst.


  • $\begingroup$ Self-condensation of the acetone catalysed by NaOH (formed from trace water) is also a possibility $\endgroup$
    – Waylander
    Sep 14 '17 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if its concentration would be sufficient to cause this rapid condensation $\endgroup$ Sep 15 '17 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ It only requires a catalytic amount $\endgroup$
    – Waylander
    Sep 15 '17 at 10:48

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