Reaction of magnesium with carbon dioxide

The reaction of magnesium with carbon dioxide (dry ice) is demonstrated. Despite the absence of air, the magnesium continues to glow.


This is a very striking demonstration of the considerable reducing strength of magnesium and the very great stability of magnesium oxide. One might expect that the low temperature of the dry ice would prevent reaction by slowing it down. The relative stability of carbon dioxide also would argue against reaction. But the reaction is exothermic and the temperature rapidly increases to the point where reaction occurs.

  • Design
    • David Whisnant Wofford College, Spartanburg SC 29303
  • Contributions
    • David Phillips Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN 47933
    • Kelly Houston Jetzer University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI 53706