Why should a magnesium ribbon be cleaned before burning in air?

A Magnesium ribbon

Magnesium is a reactive metal. It is a soft metal and available in a lab as a thin ribbon for laboratory experiments.

When the ribbon comes into direct contact with air, its outer layer forms its oxide.

Magnesium oxide is a stable compound and interferes with burning.

2Mg(s) + O2(g) ——> 2MgO(s)

Cleaning of the ribbon scrapes out the outer layer. Now the ribbon is ready for further experiments like burning.

Burning Magnesium ribbon

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