ChemWiki: The Dynamic Chemistry E-textbook > Development Details > Approaches > Demos > Additional Demos > The Chemistry of Oxygen

The Chemistry of Oxygen

Chemical Concept Demonstrated

  • Chemistry of oxygen


  • A thin strip of Mg ribbon is ignited over a burner.


The Mg ribbon ignites and burns with a bright white flame.


2 Mg (s) + O2 (g) ---> 2 MgO (s)

Mg (s) + N2 (g) ---> Mg3N2 (s) (The Mg ribbon reacts with both the oxygen and the nitrogen in the air.)

Oxygen is highly electronegative.  It acts as an oxidizing agent for most substances with which it reacts. The oxygen oxidizes the magnesium ribbon to form the magnesium oxide salt.

The fact that the magnesium also undergoes oxidation with respect to nitrogen only attests to the magnesium's reactivity, not to any property of oxygen.


You must to post a comment.
Last Modified
10:30, 2 Oct 2013

Page Rating

Was this article helpful?


Module Vet Level:
Module Target Level:

Creative Commons License UC Davis GeoWiki by University of California, Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Terms of Use