Note that combustion is a reaction between a
fuel and an oxidant (usually oxygen). So if we
have a combustion reaction involving magnesium, it
would involve magnesium and oxygen as reactants
and magnesium oxide (MgO) as a product--no
carbon dioxide produced!
You might want to double check what the reactants
are in your situation. Magnesium cannot react
by itself (even with heat). To react, it needs
another chemical, such as oxygen from the air or
water. Without more information, I cannot be sure
that you are looking at the combustion
reaction--it might be a reaction with water or
even with carbon dioxide as a reactant!
2 Mg + O 2 -> 2 Mg 0
It's called an oxidation reaction, because
the magnesium is being oxidized as it is going
from its metallic form to becoming the cation in a
salt, magnesium oxide.
Combustion reactions are a type of oxidation
reaction, but specifically oxidation of
carbon: if there is no carbon, then oxygen
cannot combine with it to become carbon dioxide.
Oxygen is, however, very reactive, and there are
quite a lot of materials that will burn in the
presence of oxygen if you get them hot enough.
Even nitrogen in the air will burn to create
nitrous oxides at high enough temperatures. In
fact, oxygen will burn with itself to create
ozone, which is why ozone is a common smell in the
aftermath of a lightning strike, since
lightning is one of the few Earthly phenomena that
is hot enough.
Good question - channeling existing notions
like this is how we do science!
Click Here to return to the search form.