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Key People:Sir Humphry DavyJohann Wolfgang Döbereiner...(Show more)Related Topics:Chemical elementalkaline-earth metalmagnesium processingMagnesium deficiencyMagnesite...(Show more)

magnesium (Mg), chemical element, among the alkaline-earth steels of group 2 (IIa) of the periodic table, and also the lightest structure metal. That is compounds space widely offered in construction and also medicine, and magnesium is one of the elements essential to every cellular life.

Element Propertiesatomic numberatomic weightmelting pointboiling pointspecific gravityoxidation stateelectron configuration
650 °C (1,202 °F)
1,090 °C (1,994 °F)
1.74 at 20° C (68 °F)

Occurrence, properties, and also uses

Known originally through compounds such as Epsom salts (the sulfate), magnesia or magnesia alba (the oxide), and magnesite (the carbonate), the silvery white element itself does not occur complimentary in nature. That was an initial isolated in 1808 by sir Humphry Davy, that evaporated the mercury indigenous a magnesium amalgam make by electrolyzing a mixture that moist magnesia and mercuric oxide. The surname magnesium comes from Magnesia, a district of Thessaly (Greece) whereby the mineral magnesia alba was first found.


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Magnesium is the eighth many abundant element in earth crust (about 2.5 percent) and also is, ~ aluminum and iron, the 3rd most plentiful structural metal. That is cosmic variety is estimated as 9.1 × 105 atom (on a range where the variety of silicon = 106 atoms). It occurs as carbonates—magnesite, MgCO3, and dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2—and in many common silicates, including talc, olivine, and also most kinds of asbestos. It additionally is found as hydroxide (brucite), chloride (carnallite, KMgCl3∙6H2O), and sulfate (kieserite). It is spread in mineral such as serpentine, chrysolite, and meerschaum. Seawater contains around 0.13 percent magnesium, mostly as the dissolved chloride, which imparts that characteristic bitter taste.

Magnesium is commercially created by electrolysis the molten magnesium chloride (MgCl2), processed largely from seawater and also by the direct reduction that its link with perfect reducing agents—e.g., native the reaction the magnesium oxide or calcined dolomite v ferrosilicon (the Pidgeon process). (See magnesium processing.)

At one time, magnesium was offered for photographic speed ribbon and powder, since in finely divided type it burns in air with an extreme white light; the still finds applications in explosive and also pyrotechnic devices. Due to the fact that of that low thickness (only two-thirds that of aluminum), the has discovered extensive use in the aerospace industry. However, since the pure metal has low structural strength, magnesium is greatly used in the form of alloys—principally with 10 percent or much less of aluminum, zinc, and also manganese—to improve its hardness, tensile strength, and capacity to be cast, welded, and also machined. Casting, rolling, extruding, and also forging methods are all employed through the alloys, and also further fabrication that the resulting sheet, plate, or extrusion is lugged out by normal forming, joining, and also machining operations. Magnesium is the most basic structural steel to device and has often been provided when a huge number the machining operations are required. Magnesium alloys have actually a variety of applications: castle are provided for components of aircraft, spacecraft, machinery, automobiles, portable tools, and household appliances.

The thermal and electrical conductivity that magnesium and its melting suggest are very similar to those that aluminum. Conversely, aluminum is struck by alkalies but is resistant to most acids, magnesium is resistant to many alkalies yet is readily attacked by most acids come liberate hydrogen (chromic and hydrofluoric acids are necessary exceptions). At common temperatures the is secure in air and water since of the formation of a thin protective skin that oxide, however it is attacked by steam. Magnesium is a an effective reducing agent and is supplied to produce other metals from your compounds (e.g., titanium, zirconium, and hafnium). That reacts straight with many elements.

Magnesium occurs in nature as a mixture of 3 isotopes: magnesium-24 (79.0 percent), magnesium-26 (11.0 percent), and also magnesium-25 (10.0 percent). Nineteen radiation isotopes have actually been prepared; magnesium-28 has the longest half-life, at 20.9 hours, and also is a beta emitter. Return magnesium-26 is not radioactive, that is the daughter nuclide of aluminum-26, which has a half-life of 7.2 × 105 years. Elevated levels of magnesium-26 have actually been uncovered in some meteorites, and also the proportion of magnesium-26 to magnesium-24 has actually been used in determining their age.

The optimal producers of magnesium by the second decade that the 21st century consisted of China, Russia, Turkey, and Austria.

Principal compounds

In compounds, magnesium virtually constantly exhibits a +2 oxidation state since of the lose or share of its two 3s electrons. Over there are, however, a small number of coordination compounds known with magnesium-magnesium bonds, LMg―MgL, in i m sorry the magnesium centres have a officially +1 oxidation state. Magnesium carbonate, MgCO3, occurs in nature together the mineral magnesite and is critical source of elemental magnesium. It have the right to be created artificially by the activity of carbon dioxide top top a range of magnesium compounds. The odourless white powder has plenty of industrial uses—e.g., together a heat insulator for boilers and also pipes and as an additive in food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, rubbers, inks, and glass. Together magnesium carbonate is both hygroscopic and insoluble in water, it was the initial additive used to do table salt free-flowing even in high-humidity conditions.


Magnesium hydroxide, Mg(OH)2, is a white powder produced in huge quantities from seawater through the addition of milk of lime (calcium hydroxide). It is the main raw material in the manufacturing of magnesium metal and has been offered as a fire-retardant additive. In water it forms a suspension recognized as milk of magnesia, which has long been offered as one antacid and a laxative.

The action of hydrochloric mountain on magnesium hydroxide produce magnesium chloride, MgCl2, a colourless, deliquescent (water-absorbing) substance employed in magnesium steel production, in the manufacture of a cement for heavy-duty flooring, and also as one additive in textile manufacture. That is additionally used to coagulate soybean beans milk in the production of tofu.

Roasting either magnesium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide to produce the oxygen compound magnesium oxide, generally called magnesia, MgO. It is a white solid provided in the manufacture of high-temperature refractory bricks, electrical and also thermal insulators, cements, fertilizer, rubber, and plastics. That is additionally used medically together a laxative and also antacid.

Magnesium sulfate, MgSO4, is a colourless crystalline substance formed by the reaction the magnesium hydroxide v sulfur dioxide and air. A hydrate kind of magnesium sulfate referred to as kieserite, MgSO4∙H2O, occurs as a mineral deposit. Synthetically all set magnesium sulfate is sold as Epsom salt, MgSO4∙7H2O. In industry, magnesium sulfate is offered in the to produce of cements and fertilizers and also in tanning and also dyeing; in medication it serves as a purgative. Due to the fact that of its capacity to absorb water readily, the anhydrous type is provided as a desiccant (drying agent).

Among the organometallic compound of magnesium space the necessary Grignard reagents, written of one organic group (e.g., alkyls and also aryls), a halogen atom other than fluorine, and also magnesium. These are used in the production of numerous other type of organic and organometallic compounds.

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Magnesium is crucial to all living cells, together the Mg2+ ion is involved with the critically important organic polyphosphate link DNA, RNA, and also adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Many enzymes count on magnesium for your functioning. Around one-sixth as numerous as potassium in human being body cells, magnesium is forced as a catalyst for enzyme reactions in carbohydrate metabolism. Magnesium likewise is an essential constituent that the environment-friendly pigment chlorophyll, found in essentially all plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. The photosynthetic role of plants depends upon the activity of chlorophyll pigments, i m sorry contain magnesium at the center of a complex, nitrogen-containing ring mechanism (porphyrin). This magnesium compounds allow light power to journey the switch of carbon dioxide and also water come carbohydrates and oxygen and also thus directly or indirectly administer the crucial to practically all life processes.