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The Burning of Magnesium C11-3-10, 14 & 15

Introduction:

We’re all fascinated with the burning of magnesium; so are the English students in this video clip.

http://www.noolmusic.com/blogs/YouTube_Google_Myspace_Video_Technology_News_Science_Computers__Magnesium_Burning_Gone_Wrong.shtml

Although we find this a novel experience to observe the burning of magnesium has value not only for photographers in the past who used the emitted light in a ‘flash’ as the light source for illuminating subjects but also for us learners of chemistry. This burning is also a practical means for us to understand the nature of limiting reagents and mass-mass calculations and stoichiometry.

Part A: Initial Demonstration:

A small portion of magnesium ribbon will be polished by some steel wool or sand paper and held in an open flame.

What evidence is there for a reaction occurring? Consider what changes are noticed.

What elements are reacting?

Write both a word and chemical equation for the reaction occurring.

What type of reaction is this? Justify your answer.

Draw an illustration of the molecular composition of the atoms in the ribbon and reacting oxygen molecules and explain at an electronic level what is occurring in this reaction.

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