A pyrophoric metal is one that burns spontaneously in oxygen; I came across this phenomenon as a teenager doing experiments at home. Pyrophoric iron for example is prepared by heating anhydrous iron (II) oxalate in a sealed test tube (i.e. to 600° or higher). When the tube is broken open and the contents released, a shower of sparks forms. Not all metals do this; early group metals such as calcium undergo a different reaction releasing carbon monoxide and forming calcium carbonate and not the metal itself. Here as a prelude to the pyrophoric reaction proper, I take a look at this alternative mechanism using calculations.
Posts Tagged ‘metal oxalates’
Tags:Aluminium, calculated free energy barrier, Carbon monoxide, Chemical elements, Chemistry, higher activation energy, Iron, Matter, metal, metal oxalates, Oxide, pyrophoric metal, Pyrophoricity, Reducing agents
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