Why white flame is obtained when we burnt a magnesium ribbon?

When the atoms of a gas or vapour are excited, for instance by heating or by applying an electrical field, their electrons are able to move from their ground state to higher energy levels(excited state). This energy corresponds to particular wavelengths of light, and so produces particular colours of light.

When magnesium is placed in a Bunsen burner flame in the air it burns with a bright, white flame. The product is a white powdery solid. This is happening because at high temperatures the magnesium atoms in the metal combine with the oxygen atoms in the air. A chemical reaction produces magnesium oxide, powdery ash.

The reaction is given by 2Mg + O2 → 2MgO

We see the white light of flame when magnesium burns because magnesium gets excited and move to a higher energy state which corresponds to white light, hence the colour of the flame is also white.


Simply Easy Learning

Updated on: 10-Oct-2022


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