Introduction: Demonstrating Magnesium Burning in Dry Ice

Music: Kevin MacLeod
Halloween 2007.

Has it been a year already? Well it is time for my halloween demos. This years halloween show will have 250 pounds of solid CO2 (dry ice) for my chemistry demonstrations. This reaction is between metallic magnesium and carbon dioxide. Magnesium reacts with oxygen in the air to form magnesium oxide, but when the only source of oxygen is from CO2 the reaction becomes much more energetic. The products are white magnesium oxide and blck carbon.

Cut a block of dry ice into 2 large bloks with a hand saw
Carve a 1 inch deep divit in one of the blocks
Add a few grams of Magnesium metal to this block
Extend a fuse of magnesium out of this pile. The Mg will not light in the block (no Oxygen)
Once lit allow the reaction to proceed. It may take a few tries. Once lit, cover the dry ice with the other block. Stand back.
A safety shield is highly recommened for classroom demonstrations.

The reaction
2Mg + CO2--> 2MgO + C


1. Handle the dry ice with protective gloves.

2. Remove any combustible items because some burning Mg turnings may fly out.

3. Warn students not to stare directly at burning Mg. Dark colored safety glasses can be worn which absorb most of the UV light.


timmy1234s (author)2008-08-30

you do know that when magneium wire is burned, it sets off UV rays, which can burn your eyes and are the type of rays from the sun right? Just saying

Yeah I guess I'm lucky I don't have eye damage. My science teacher from my old school lit up a coil of magnesium and never said we shouldn't look at it   -_- She also hated me because I'm a bit of a redneck, she was an "eco-nut" and would always talk about how having a camp fire is bad and will destroy the earth from the polutants released >_<

red-king (author)timmy1234s2009-02-28

thats why you aren't supposed to look directly at it when its burning.

strmrnnr (author)2010-02-27

Here is another awesome video from a very cool group of guys. They explain things really well.

Check out these other groups will you are browsing YouTube:

maxpower49 (author)2008-02-10

where can you get Mg and how long does the orange glow last

try ebay i got 60 grams of shavings for about 20 dollars

franklinonline (author)2009-03-29

that is cool

twenglish1 (author)2008-03-01

were can you get dry ice

conrad2468 (author)twenglish12008-07-30

the grocery store for .99 a pound

twenglish1 (author)conrad24682008-07-30

do you live in the US cause i dont think i have seen it there

conrad2468 (author)twenglish12008-07-30

yes i do live in the us.....its not for sale you have to be 18+ (unless your me) (its a small town) and you have to ask..

twenglish1 (author)conrad24682008-07-30

yah thats what i thought i will need to get my mom or someone to buy it for me im only 14

conrad2468 (author)twenglish12008-07-30

unless you live in a small town then just tell them its a "science experiment"

twenglish1 (author)conrad24682008-07-30

ok yah i think the town i live in is pretty small but they will probably think im making a dry ice bomb or something

red-king (author)twenglish12009-02-28

they made a dry ice bomb on mythbusters... it was funny...

Vendigroth (author)conrad24682008-09-22

Not in the UK ;_;

conrad2468 (author)Vendigroth2008-09-22


Vendigroth (author)conrad24682008-09-23

'S not funny ;_;

twenglish1 (author)Vendigroth2008-09-23

yah it is you got owned!!! LOL jk

twenglish1 (author)conrad24682008-09-22

haha owned!!!

conrad2468 (author)twenglish12008-09-22

I guess you could say that

twenglish1 (author)conrad24682008-09-22

yah idk i couldn't think of anything eles

conrad2468 (author)2008-07-30

now tell me if im wrong but to make liquid methanol you heat wood chips in a test tube connected to a retort and voila liquid methanol erm condensed methanol? right?

Artificial Intelligence (author)2008-06-11

Wow. Coolest lamp I've ever seen!!!!!!!!!

GorillazMiko (author)2008-01-25

Yay, dry ice! You have A LOT of stuff/ chemicals, etc., I wish I was like you. But then I would probably be dead.

dunnos (author)GorillazMiko2008-05-19

if you were like him you would have the knowledge how to handle those chemicals but youll learn

drips (author)2008-03-01

You could put a jack o'lantern face on it first then when it turns orange - pay off!

CoolKoon (author)2008-02-22

Don't bother asking any question. The video uploader doesn't seem to care anyway......

askjacob (author)2008-01-27

Very nice demonstration. Clear video and you know what you are doing - and it is stuff I'll never be able to do. Thanks for sharing this. A quick question - I would have thought all that heat would make the blocks shatter... I guess if there is a layer of black carbon it must be a pretty good insulator. There was far less dry ice consumed/sublimated than I would have guessed...

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