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The formula of magnesium oxide

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TITLE: The formula of magnesium oxide DATE: 11TH MAY 2001 AIM: To find the formula of magnesium oxide by burning a weighed amount of magnesium in air. CONCLUSION: When magnesium is burnt in air, it reacts with oxygen to form magnesium oxide. Once each magnesium atom has bonded with an oxygen atom the weight then changes. The weight change can then be used to find the formula of magnesium oxide. The formula of magnesium oxide is MgO. BACKGROUND: When magnesium is burned in air magnesium oxide is formed. During this reaction the magnesium reacts with oxygen atoms to form a bond between the two, thus becoming heavier in the process. Relevant terms: 1) Mole: The amount of a substance which contains as many atoms or molecules as there are in exactly 12 grams of carbon 12 isotope. 2) Crucible: A container used for heating substances, capable of withstanding extreme heat. 3) Forum: Justification of Procedure: This procedure was used as it is the only way of forming magnesium oxide in air. Oxidation is the loss of electrons. An oxidant is a substance, which oxidises some other substances. ...read more.


Elements Magnesium Mg Oxygen O Weight 36.19 - 36.06 = 0.13g 36.27 - 36.19 = 0.08g 2) Percent Composition % Total weight = 0.13 x 100 = 62 % 0.21 0.08 x 100 = 38 % 0.21 3) Moles Atomic weight = 62 = 2.58 24 38 = 2.38 16 4) Simplest ratio 1 1 5) Empirical formula MgO Questions 1. a) What are the impurities found on the surface of magnesium? Magnesium oxide b) What is the appearance of the magnesium ribbon after cleaning? Shiny silver colour c) What is used to clean the magnesium? Emery paper d) What is the colour of magnesium oxide? Shiny white colour e) Name two compounds formed when magnesium is heated in air? Magnesium oxide and magnesium nitride f) Why is the crucible lid lifted when the magnesium is heated? Too let in oxygen so it can react with the magnesium. g) Why shouldn't a hot object be placed on a balance? Because the first measurement was taken when the crucible was at room temperature and should be consistent in taking the measurements. Eg the crucible could be lighter when it is warmer. ...read more.


The magnesium could have been cleaned for longer. The magnesium could have started out magnesium oxide and therefore not a correct weight change. Make sure the magnesium is pure. Weight might not have been precise. A more precise weighing machine may have been used to get a more precise answer. Magnesium ribbon could have been coiled too much or too little. More effort could have been given to coil it correct. Crucible may not have always been on the hottest part of the flame because the tripod was too high. Use something to raise the bunsen burner so it is at maximum heat level. Magnesium may have escaped from the crucible during the heating process. Don't leave the lid off for too long. The magnesium did not fully react with the oxygen. Heat the magnesium for longer. The crucible had impurities on it that could have reacted with something in the practical and creating a weight change. Clean off all impurities on the crucible. The crucible might not be back to the same temperature when first measured, which could affect the weight. Let the crucible cool right back down before measuring the weight. The air was not 100% oxygen. It has nitrogen, hydrogen and helium, which might have had different reactions with the magnesium. Do the practical in a pure oxygen environment. David Dries 1 ...read more.

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