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SECTION

4.3 Oxidising magnesium

Magnesium burns in air with a very bright flame. It makes white smoke, and leaves behind a
white ash. Class 9 are carrying out an investigation to compare the mass of magnesium
burned with the mass of the products of the reaction.
The pupils had different ideas about what they would find.
Matter cannot be created or
destroyed, so the mass of the ash
should be the same as the mass of
the magnesium we start with.

Jane
The mass of the ash will be less
than the mass of the original
magnesium because some of the
smoke will probably escape.

Aled
Each group burned one piece of magnesium. Their method is shown below.

Method
1

Measure the mass of the crucible and lid.

Clean a piece of magnesium ribbon with emery paper and


coil it loosely. Put it in the crucible.

Measure the mass of the crucible and lid with the


magnesium in it. Use this to work out the mass of
magnesium you started with.

Put the crucible on the tripod. Leave the lid off. Heat the
crucible. When the magnesium starts to burn, put the lid on.

Lift the lid every 10 seconds, trying not to let any smoke
escape.

When the reaction has finished, turn off the Bunsen burner.
Measure the mass of the crucible, lid and ash. Use this to
work out the mass of ash and smoke left.

Pearson Education Ltd 2009. Longman 11-14 Chemistry Practical and Assessment Teacher Pack
This document may have been altered from the original

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4.3 Oxidising magnesium

The table shows their results.


Group
A
B
C
D
E
F

Mass of magnesium
(g)
0.22
0.25
0.30
0.27
0.31
0.26

Mass of smoke/ash
(g)
0.36
0.42
0.50
0.45
0.51
0.43

Questions
1

a) What would your prediction be for this investigation? Explain your ideas.
b) Do you agree with Jane? Explain your answer.
c) Do you agree with Aled? Explain your answer.

What safety precautions should be taken when carrying out this investigation? [Total 2]

Plot a graph to show the class results. Put the mass of magnesium on the horizontal
axis.
[Total 3]

a) Work out the percentage mass gain for each set of results.
[2]
b) Should you use the percentage mass gains, or the final masses when you think
about your conclusion? Explain your answer.
[2]
[Total 4]

a) Write a conclusion for the investigation.


[2]
b) Explain your conclusion using ideas about atoms, molecules and compounds. [3]
[Total 5]

How reliable were the class results? Explain your answer.

Pearson Education Ltd 2009. Longman 11-14 Chemistry Practical and Assessment Teacher Pack
This document may have been altered from the original

[2]
[2]
[1]
[Total 5]

[Total 2]

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