Why should a magnesium ribbon be cleaned before burning in air?

Magnesium ribbon be cleaned before burning in air for the following reason

  • The magnesium ribbon which we usually use has a coating of magnesium oxide. Magnesium ribbon reacts with oxygen present in air to form a protective and inert layer of magnesium oxide on its surface.
  • This layer is unreactive and prevents the Ribbon from Burning.
  • And therefore it needs to be cleaned by rubbing with Sandpaper to remove the protective layer of magnesium oxide from the surface of the magnesium ribbon.
  • When magnesium ribbon burns in air it gives dazzling white flame to form a white powder called magnesium oxide. The reason is that when heated magnesium combines with oxygen present in air to form magnesium oxide.
    magnesium ribbon burning experiment

    burning magnesium ribbon with white light

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