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.

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    29 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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

    2 replies

    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 >_<


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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:


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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..


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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