### ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes: Heating metals in air

• Some metals react with oxygen in the air at ordinary (room) temperature
• Others only react with oxygen if they are heated in air
• They may do this readily and release large amounts of energy in the process
• Some metals hardily react at all even at very high temperatures
• The reactive metals are said to have a greater affinity for oxygen
• They combine with it to form stable oxides
• Such metals are not stable and thus have to be carefully stored so that they do not come into contact with air
• Less reactive metals such as silver, gold and platinum will not react with oxygen
• They are called inert metals and less often also known as noble metals
• They are often valuable in economic terms
• They usually have industrial uses and are often used as jewelry
• The most reactive metals produce bright flames when they react with air
• An example is magnesium which produces a blinding white light when it is burned in air
• Such metals have a high affinity for oxygen
• The word equation for the reaction of metal is and air is:
• $\text{metal + air }\rightarrow \text{metal oxide}$

To access more topics go to the Combined Science Notes page.

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