Magnesium Fires

 

Hazards: 

Magnesium burns extremely bright.  Do not look directly at the flame.

Chemicals and Solutions: 

magnesium ribbon

Materials: 

Hotplate

Two 1L Erlenmeyer flasks

water

dry ice

tongs

bunsen burner and matches

wood splints

Procedure: 

Make a steam bath by heating a small amount of water in an Erlenmeyer flask on a hot plate.

Holding a wooden splint with tongs, ignite it and place it in the boiling water.  It will extinguish.  Repeat this step using magnesium ribbon.  Magnesium burns in steam.

Place dry ice in the second erlenmeyer.  Holding a wooden splint with tongs, ignite it and place it in the carbon dioxide vapor.  It will extinguish.  Repeat this step using magnesium ribbon.  Magnesium burns in carbon dioxide.  Look for the black specks of carbon formed.

Hint: 

Discussion: 

Magnesium burns in substances that normally extinguish flames.  It burns in boiling water and carbon dioxide:

Mg + H2O ==> MgO + H2

2Mg + CO2 ==> 2 MgO + C

 

 

 

To schedule a demonstration, please send an email to the demonstration lab.

 

Contact:

Eric Camp

Lecture Demonstration Technician

Bagley Hall 171

(206) 543-1606

ericcamp@uw.edu

 

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