ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes: Experiment: Reducing Iron oxide using aluminium

Aim: To remove oxygen from iron oxide using aluminum

Materials: sand, tin can, safety screen, magnesium ribbon and magnesium powder, wooden splint, aluminum powder, dry iron oxide, barium preoxide

Reducing iron oxide using aluminum oxide

Reducing iron oxide using aluminum oxide


  1. Fill the tin can with sand and make a 4cm deep indentation into the sand
  2. Mix equal volumes of dry iron oxide and aluminum powder and place them into the indentation
  3. Place a spatula full of barium peroxide and magnesium powder on top of the mixture
  4. Place a 20 cm length of magnesium ribbon through the mixture to act as a fuse
  5. Place the tin and contents on a bare patch of earth outside
  6. Put a safety screen in front of the tin
  7. Light the magnesium ribbon and stand well back

Results and Observation

  • A vigorous/violent reaction takes places after the magnesium fuse lights the mixture
  • When the mixture has cooled down a bead of iron can be found in the indentation
  • It can be attracted using a magnet
  • The word equation for this experiment is:
  • \text{iron oxide+aluminum}\rightarrow\text{ iron+aluminum oxide}


  • Aluminum acts as a reducing agent when it reduces iron oxide to iron

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