billnotgatez: I hadn't heard of the China syndrome until today, *lol* that is funny!
Before I started the thermite reaction as a demonstration here is what I did:
*Researched the theory
*Read how other places do it
*Researched the reported incidences of accidents during thermite reactions (there have been quite a few)
*Picked what I thought would be the most suitable/safe method
*tested that method on 1/10 of the scale suggested
*first 6 tests were outside
*next 10 tests were inside in the fumehood.
*once I was happy it was reproducible in my fume hood I then took all the equipment to where the demo was to be performed and without any audience did another 5 or so test in this environment
We ran about 12 demos of the thermite reaction a few weeks back in front of students without incident.
Thermite was in the fumehood.
Spectators all wore safety glasses, lab coats and gloves as well as the obligatory closed shoes, tied back hair etc etc.
The scale was still small (<5grams).
No water was used at all.
Fire fighting apparatus were on hand = fire blanket, fire sand, extinguishers, fire hose reel, shower, eye wash, exhaust fan.
So as you can see I took this as a very serious exercise and I strongly recommend anyone else doing this experiment does at least the same preparation if not more.