ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes: Experiment:Making magnesium oxide compound

Aim: To make a compound of magnesium and oxygen (magnesium oxide)

Materials: magnesium ribbon, sandpaper, tongs, burner

Burning metals in air, Magnesium oxide.

Burning metals in air, Magnesium oxide.


  1. Clean a piece of magnesium ribbon with sandpaper
  2. Examine the magnesium and note its physical properties
  3. Hold the magnesium with a pair of tongs and heat it in the burner flame until it ignites
  4. Take care not to look directly at the burning magnesium as this might blind you and hurt/cause damage to your eyes
  5. Remove the magnesium from the flame. It will continue to burn
  6. When it has finished burning examine the new compound


  • Before it is burned in the flame the magnesium had a silver-white colour after it has been cleaned with sandpaper
  • When it ignites it burns with a very bright white flame
  • A white powder remains
  • This is an exothermic reaction
  • This means heat is given out
  • The chemical equation is: \text{magnesium+oxygen}\rightarrow \text{magnesium oxide}
  • The magnesium reacts with oxygen

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