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why does magnesium burn so hard, fast and hot ?
- mathew (age 15)
Great question Mathew -
Atoms have a positive nucleus with just
enough negative electrons "roaming " around it to just balance the
charge. Oxygens in the air have a strong affinity for extra electrons
and magnesium atoms can readily give up electrons. The reaction gives
Mg2+ ions and O2- ions which are strongly attracted to each other to
form MgO, thus giving off lots of energy.
(republished on 07/24/06)
Follow-Up #1: Water on a magnesium fire? Bad advice
Why can't you use water or a fire extinguisher to extinguish a magnesium fire?
- shannon (age 15)
San Antonio, TX, USA
Follow-up on this answer.