Can a Magnesium fire be put out?

TheBackyardScientistPublished: March 2, 2017Updated: March 7, 2017341,704 views
Published: March 2, 2017Updated: March 7, 2017

Magnesium is a pretty cool thing. It's the ninth most abundant element in the universe and fourth most common on our planet. The coolest thing about magnesium is that it can be used as an emergency fire starter because it has a low melting point. A magnesium fire burns bright and it's virtually inextinguishable, so don't try this next experiment at home!

Chemistry is a fun subject, but you need to take a lot of precautions. The Backyard Scientist will take that burden off your shoulders by showing you how magnesium ignites, how bright magnesium fire is and how to extinguish it. He tries covering the fire with dry ice, which is basically frozen CO2, but the fire takes it's sweet time to go out, since magnesium fire draws the oxygen from the CO2. Don't try to put it out with water either! It will cause an explosion that looks really cool in slow-mo, but it may cause additional damage.

The best way to put out a magnesium fire is to cover it in sand, in order to smother the fire by removing it's O2 source!

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      sword_guy · 28 weeks ago

      In the town I grew up in, there used to be a magnesium factory. It was built next to a river. The river flooded. It didn't go well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f31SiUe2efw

    • 1 rumble
      Giggle · 15 weeks ago

      My brother is a machinist who used to mill giant slabs of magnesium, and he gave me trashbags full of magnesium shavings. I was an electronics hobbyist, and I used the shavings as flash fuses, kind of like how the Polaroid flashcubes worked. One night we went fishing at a lake next to an atomic plant, and he lit a big bag of magnesium on fire right at the lake's edge. Well, within one minute an F-15 screeched right overhead. We didn't get arrested, but we did catch some pretty nice bullheads.