Magnesium burning

Photograph by Andrey Pavlov.

Photography contest, Semi-Finalist.

Magnesium burning with copper. Mr. Pavlov writes, “My setup involved a hunk of pure magnesium (harvested from a campfire starter) set on top of a log in a fireplace. Under the Mg hunk were some matches, and on top were either copper shavings or brass tacks. I then lit the matches on fire and used a plastic tube connected to an E cylinder of pure oxygen running at ~15 liters per minute to direct the oxygen stream at the base of the Mg hunk. This ignited the matches with enough energy to start the Mg on fire, which subsequently melted and burned with the Cu or brass to produce colored flames. … “In between shots, the Mg oxidized very rapidly and formed a crust over the glowing molten core of metal. When I took the O2 and blew a stream over the base of the crusted-over metal amalgam, it cracked and began burning very rapidly and very (VERY!) brightly. “In the Cu image you can see a layer of Mg metal being blasted off the surface and “floating” on top of the plasma being generated. In the background is the green of the Cu burning, and in the center is crusted amalgam.”