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  • 1 Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Mulhouse Groupe Sécurité et Ecologie Chimiques 3, rue Alfred Werner 68093 Mulhouse Cedex France 3, rue Alfred Werner 68093 Mulhouse Cedex France
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Abstract  

The formation of alkali metal alcoxides by an alcohol reacting on the elemental metal itself cannot be completed under stoichiometric conditions. As a consequence of solvation, the chemical activity of the reacting alcohol is drastically reduced. Thus, the reaction cannot undergo completion without a large excess of alcohol with respect to the alkali metal. Moreover, solvation processes can drop the reaction kinetics down to nearly zero. When an excess of alkali metal is reacted with alcohol, the heat accumulated by solvation can be suddenly released by an addition of pure alcohol. Extremely dangerous thermal runaways can be started this way.