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Question

When metal burns and reacts to oxygen, is it endothermic or exothermic?why?


Solution

When magnesium is in its metal form it will burn very easily in air. However, in order to start the reaction (the burning) the magnesium metal needs a source of energy. The flame provides a source of heat so that the magnesium metal atoms can overcome their activation energy. Activation energy is the minimum energy required in order for a chemical reaction to proceed. When the magnesium metal burns it reacts with oxygen found in the air to form Magnesium Oxide. A compound is a material in which atoms of different elements are bonded to one another. Oxygen and magnesium combine in a chemical reaction to form this compound. After it burns, it forms a white powder of the magnesium oxide. Magnesium gives up two electrons to oxygen atoms to form this powdery product. This is an exothermic reaction. An exothermic reaction is a term that describes a chemical reaction in which there is a net release of energy (heat).

2Mg(s)+O2(g)→2MgO(s)+energy

Chemistry

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