Metal and non-metal oxides

Many metals and non-metals react with oxygen in the air when they are heated to produce metal oxides and non-metal oxides.

The table shows three of these reactions in detail.

ElementTypeReaction typeOxideNature
MagnesiumMetalHighly exothermic - magnesium burns with bright white flameMagnesium oxide, MgO - solid white powderBasic
CarbonNon-metalExothermic - carbon glows orange when heated stronglyCarbon dioxide, CO2 - colourless gas with no odour Acidic
SulfurNon-metalBurns slowly with a blue flameSulfur dioxide, SO2 - colourless gas with choking smell Acidic
IronMetalBurns with orange sparksTriiron tetroxide, Fe3O4 – a black, solid powderBasic
CopperMetalGlows red, occasionally with blue-green flameCopper oxide, CuO – a black, solid powderBasic
  • basic oxides react with acids.
  • acidic oxides react with alkalis.