# How to speed up corrosion of magnesium?

For an experiment, I need a corroded magnesium, but I got fresh mill cutoffs. Is there I way to speed up the corrosion process?

Actually would like to simulate a crushed magnesium rod, that spend some time in nuclear reactor. So I would expect just some thin corrosion (oxidation) layer, basically I need to get right colour.

• Welcome to Chemistry.SE! Take the tour to get familiar with this site. Mathematical expressions and equations can be formatted using LATEX syntax. If you receive useful answers, consider accepting one. – bon Jan 10 '17 at 9:02
• Could you give a little more information regarding the required physical characteristics you need? Can it be a fine or coarse powder, flakey, clumpy, or does it need to somewhat maintain it's current shape and form? Is it possible to be too corroded for your purposes, i.e. mostly converted all the way to magnesium oxide? It might be simplest to just explain what you intend to do with it. – airhuff Jan 10 '17 at 9:13
• Actually would like to simulate a crushed magnesium rod, that spend some time in nuclear reactor. So I would expect just some thin corrosion (oxidation) layer, basically I need to get right colour. – liborw Jan 10 '17 at 10:15
• You are looking for passivation? That is probably incredibly difficult to control. Speeding it up might just lead to burning it. If you just need the colour, paint it white. – Martin - マーチン Jan 10 '17 at 13:06
• Actually a "thin" layer will form rapidly on exposure to air. You should see the fresh millings go from shiny to grey. You could heat it in air until you think it has the coloring you are looking for. – airhuff Jan 11 '17 at 7:24

I am going to take a bit of a jump and assume you mean you want $\ce{MgO}$, Magnesium Oxide. This should be the main product of it's corrosion in air.

If you want to speed it up merely burn it. It burns very brightly and hot, so be careful; however it is not too unsafe, just use common sense. Proper safety should always be followed.

$$\ce{2Mg + O2 -> 2MgO}$$

Is the reaction occurring. After it has fully burnt, you will be left with magnesium oxide, what I assume you mean by corrosion.

This will result in a white powder, as corrected by Ivan.

• Burning of magnesium never results in a solid chunk. Instead, you'll have a lot of fine white powder all over the place. – Ivan Neretin Jan 10 '17 at 9:27
• @IvanNeretin You are completely right. I haven't done the demonstration in a while and was thinking of sparklers. – ChemBird Jan 10 '17 at 9:31
• Thanks, But not really what I need, I have updated the question... – liborw Jan 10 '17 at 12:50