Magnesium Fire: the most dangerous metal in the Machine Shop

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We recently had quite a bit of magnesium in the shop we had to machine parts from, and it ALMOST resulted in a fire while IN THE MILLING MACHINE! Magnesium is strong, light weight and EXTREMELY flammable! while quite safe and inert in solid form, once cut into thin chips and shavings it can become easily combustible.

Since we had such a close call with the shavings, and i had 5 lbs of magnesium chips at my disposal, i thought it would be an interesting experiment to set off some of the chips in front of the camera.

all of my experiments were done with DRY magnesium, i was concerned that wet magnesium would be too dangerous to experiment with.

i performed 3 experiments:
a small handful of material – 0:42
1 lb of material – 1:57
3lbs of material – 5:47
view from underneath – 7:47 and 10:00

i found all of them interesting and i hope you do too. one of the most surprising parts of the experiments was discovering that ammonia is a byproduct of burning magnesium!


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