I'd like you to actually do this now or when you are next in the lab. Separately, take some sulfur and some magnesium. Burn each of these, dissolve the product in water, and then test that solution to find out whether the dissolved oxide is acidic or basic. The specific instructions for doing that are in exercise 19 in your workbook and the chemicals are over in the fume hood. Part c of exercise 19 lists the equations for the reactions that you'll be doing and has a place to record your results. Please pay attention to what is happening while you're performing the tests by comparing the observed chemical reactions with the equations shown in the example. If you are in the lab, please take some time now to do exercise 19, then we'll proceed with explaining why one of these becomes an acid and one becomes a base.
You should observe that when the oxide of magnesium is dissolved in water it gives a basic solution; when the oxide of sulfur is dissolved in water gives an acidic solution. Magnesium is a metal; sulfur is a nonmetal.
E-mail instructor: Eden Francis
Clackamas Community College