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Most recent answer: 11/15/2009
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.
(published on 10/22/2007)
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
It's because magnesium eats water for breakfast and makes the fire stronger.
Seriously, there is a reaction Mg (s) + 2H2
O --> Mg(OH)2
that produces hydrogen gas. This hydrogen then burns by combining with oxygen in the air and makes the fire hotter.
(published on 11/15/2009)
Follow-up on this answer.