Magnesium ribbon should be cleaned before burning in the air because magnesium is a reactive metal that forms a layer of magnesium oxide on its surface when it reacts with oxygen in the air. To get the necessary chemical reaction, it is cleansed, i.e., 2Mg + O2 → 2MgO. It should be cleaned with sandpaper before burning in order to get rid of the oxide layer that has formed on its surface. Candidates are advised to read the entire post as we have discussed why we should clean the magnesium ribbon before burning it in the air.
Cleaning of Magnesium Ribbon before Burning in Air
It is important to clean the magnesium ribbon before burning it in the air because magnesium is a reactive metal that combines with oxygen in the air to produce a coating of magnesium oxide on its surface. After iron and aluminum, magnesium is the third most prevalent structural metal in the crust of the earth. Magnesium occurs naturally only in the form combined with other elements.
Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal. Alkaline earth metals are the second group of metals in the periodic table. They only contain two electrons in their outer electron shell, which are particularly reactive. Magnesium has a high reactivity nature, so magnesium ribbons must be cleaned before use. Long-term air exposure to a magnesium ribbon causes the oxygen in the air to react with the magnesium ribbon, oxidizing it to produce magnesium oxide.
> Chemical Reaction: 2Mg+ O2⟶2MgO
Magnesium ribbon needs to be cleaned before burning in the air because the metal combines with the oxygen in the air to generate magnesium oxide (MgO), which is a very stable chemical. Cleaning the ribbon to remove the coating of MgO is therefore necessary to stop additional reactions with oxygen. The intended reaction might not be possible to accomplish if the magnesium oxide is not removed from the surface of the magnesium ribbon.
Why Should a Magnesium Ribbon be Cleaned Before Burning in Air?
Because magnesium is a reactive metal and reacts with oxygen in the air to generate a layer of magnesium oxide on its surface, magnesium ribbon should be cleaned before burning in the air. Due to the high degree of reactivity, magnesium ribbons must be cleaned before usage. Therefore, in order to prevent further interactions with oxygen, cleaning the ribbon to remove the MgO coating is required.