Explain why burning magnesium continues to burn, but burning sulfur is extinguished when dropped in gas containing NO.

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Both magnesium and sulfur need oxygen for burning to occur and continue. The amount of oxygen available is what determines whether the burning will continue or be extinguished. Dropping burning magnesium or sulfur into a jar causes oxygen to become a limiting factor in the combustion reactions.

When magnesium is...

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Both magnesium and sulfur need oxygen for burning to occur and continue. The amount of oxygen available is what determines whether the burning will continue or be extinguished. Dropping burning magnesium or sulfur into a jar causes oxygen to become a limiting factor in the combustion reactions.

When magnesium is burning, it produces more heat energy than sulfur. As a result, the heat produced by the burning magnesium causes the NO to break down into N2 and O2. The O2 allows the combustion, or burning, of the magnesium to continue. The magnesium will continue to burn as long as there is sufficient O2 for the combustion reaction to continue.

When burning sulfur is dropped into the jar containing NO, the heat it produces is not enough to cause the breakdown of NO to N2 and O2. As a result, there is insufficient O2 in the jar to allow the combustion of the sulfur to continue, and so the burning sulfur is extinguished.

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