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Education

Chemistry in Pictures: Blinded by the magnesium

by Craig Bettenhausen
April 12, 2019

 

20190412lnp20-blindedbymg.jpg
Credit: Submitted by Edgar Özuzun

When magnesium reacts with oxygen, it produces light bright enough to blind you temporarily. Magnesium burns so bright because the reaction releases a lot of heat. As a result of this exothermic reaction, magnesium gives two electrons to oxygen, forming powdery magnesium oxide (MgO). In the sequence shown here, a person places a piece of magnesium metal in an alcohol stove flame. As the magnesium starts to burn, the flame is at first a red-orange, and then turns bright white as the flame reaches its full temperature in the bottom right panel.

Submitted by Edgar Özuzun

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