Welcome to our latest post on MEL Science: Burning Magnesium.
It has been a long time since this was done back in April, and I am only just getting round to writing about it! Yay me!
As usual, I had Abigail prepare for this experiment by reading the lesson on the MEL Science website. Some of their experiments have an accompanying video, and this was one such experiment! Abs loves the videos as they completely whet her appetite for what is to come 🙂
Magnesium is a metal near the top and to the left of the periodic table. Being over to the left means that it is very reactive and gives up its electrons very readily to oxygen, creating heat and light (otherwise known as burning!)
MEL Science: Burning Magnesium – Setting Up
I always have Abigail prepare her space so that it is safe and organised. She has a corner of our dining room dedicated to her scientific interests, otherwise referred to Ab’s Labs! She has a clear surface to work at, which is higher than a normal table and allows her to comfortably work whilst standing up.
MEL Science instruction booklets tell the scientist exactly what is required for each experiment and every single item can be found in the box. We never have to search the house for anything!
MEL Science: Burning Magnesium – Method
The first thing Abs did was to fold a piece of foil and place it at the bottom of her stove:
She carefully measured out a big spoon of hexamethylene-tetramine. This will act as the solid fuel:
She placed it onto the middle of the foil:
She then placed the wire across the burner, above the crystals on the foil:
Next, Abs took a strip of magnesium wire and bend it in the middle:
And balanced it over the wire above the crystals:
Abs removed her gloves and lit the solid fuel:
MEL Science: Burning Magnesium – Results
The magnesium strip burnt with a bright glow, emitting lots of heat:
MEL Science: Burning Magnesium – Conclusion
The magnesium strip burns readily giving up its two outer electrons to the oxygen in the air. The magnesium changes to magnesium oxide which can be seen as the white solid curled around the wire below:
Equation for Burning Magnesium
Magnesium + Oxygen = Magnesium Oxide
2Mg + O2 ——– 2MgO
Fab times! We LOVE MEL Science!