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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), chemistry element, among the alkaline-earth metals of team 2 (IIa) the the routine table, and also the lightest structure metal. That compounds are widely offered in construction and also medicine, and magnesium is one of the aspects 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 in ~ 20° C (68 °F)

Occurrence, properties, and uses

Known initially through link such as Epsom salt (the sulfate), magnesia or magnesia alba (the oxide), and also magnesite (the carbonate), the silvery white aspect itself does not occur free in nature. That was very first isolated in 1808 by sir Humphry Davy, that evaporated the mercury native a magnesium amalgam do by electrolyzing a mixture of moist magnesia and also mercuric oxide. The name magnesium originates from Magnesia, a ar of Thessaly (Greece) wherein the mineral magnesia alba was very first found.


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Magnesium is the eighth most abundant aspect in earth’s crust (about 2.5 percent) and also is, ~ aluminum and iron, the third most abundant structural metal. Its cosmic abundance is approximated as 9.1 × 105 atom (on a scale where the abundance of silicon = 106 atoms). That occurs as carbonates—magnesite, MgCO3, and dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2—and in many typical silicates, consisting of talc, olivine, and most type of asbestos. It likewise is discovered as hydroxide (brucite), chloride (carnallite, KMgCl3∙6H2O), and also sulfate (kieserite). It is spread in minerals such together serpentine, chrysolite, and meerschaum. Seawater contains about 0.13 percent magnesium, mostly as the liquified chloride, which imparts its characteristic bitter taste.

Magnesium is commercially produced by electrolysis of molten magnesium chloride (MgCl2), processed greatly from seawater and also by the straight reduction that its link with suitable reducing agents—e.g., indigenous the reaction of magnesium oxide or calcined dolomite with ferrosilicon (the Pidgeon process). (See magnesium processing.)

At one time, magnesium was offered for photographic speed ribbon and also powder, due to the fact that in carefully divided kind it burns in air with an intense white light; the still finds application in explosive and also pyrotechnic devices. Because of that is low density (only two-thirds that of aluminum), it has found extensive usage in the aerospace industry. However, since the pure metal has actually low structure strength, magnesium is greatly used in the kind of alloys—principally with 10 percent or much less of aluminum, zinc, and manganese—to improve its hardness, tensile strength, and ability to be cast, welded, and machined. Casting, rolling, extruding, and also forging methods are every employed with the alloys, and further fabrication the the result sheet, plate, or extrusion is lugged out by common forming, joining, and also machining operations. Magnesium is the most basic structural metal to an equipment and has often been provided when a large number that machining operations are required. Magnesium alloys have a variety of applications: they are supplied for parts of aircraft, spacecraft, machinery, automobiles, portable tools, and also household appliances.

The thermal and also electrical conductivity that magnesium and its melting allude are very comparable to those the aluminum. Whereas aluminum is assaulted by alkalies but is resistant to many acids, magnesium is resistant to most alkalies yet is readily assaulted by many acids come liberate hydrogen (chromic and also hydrofluoric mountain are necessary exceptions). At typical temperatures it is stable in air and also water because of the development of a thin protective skin of oxide, however it is attacked by steam. Magnesium is a an effective reducing agent and also is used to produce other steels from their compounds (e.g., titanium, zirconium, and also hafnium). That reacts directly with numerous elements.

Magnesium occurs in nature together a mixture of three isotopes: magnesium-24 (79.0 percent), magnesium-26 (11.0 percent), and magnesium-25 (10.0 percent). Nineteen radiation isotopes have actually been prepared; magnesium-28 has actually the longest half-life, in ~ 20.9 hours, and also is a beta emitter. Although magnesium-26 is not radioactive, the is the daughter nuclear species of aluminum-26, which has a half-life the 7.2 × 105 years. Elevated level of magnesium-26 have been discovered in part meteorites, and also the proportion of magnesium-26 come magnesium-24 has been supplied in determining their age.

The height producers of magnesium by the 2nd decade the the 21st century had China, Russia, Turkey, and also Austria.

Principal compounds

In compounds, magnesium virtually always exhibits a +2 oxidation state because of the loss or sharing of its 2 3s electrons. Over there are, however, a small variety of coordination compounds known with magnesium-magnesium bonds, LMg―MgL, in i m sorry the magnesium centres have a formal +1 oxidation state. Magnesium carbonate, MgCO3, occurs in nature as the mineral magnesite and is crucial source of element magnesium. It can be created artificially through the activity of carbon dioxide top top a range of magnesium compounds. The odourless white powder has numerous industrial uses—e.g., together a heat insulator because that boilers and also pipes and as an additive in food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, rubbers, inks, and also glass. Together magnesium lead carbonate is both hygroscopic and insoluble in water, it to be the original additive offered to do table salt free-flowing also in high-humidity conditions.


Magnesium hydroxide, Mg(OH)2, is a white powder produced in huge quantities native seawater through the addition of milk that lime (calcium hydroxide). That is the primary raw material in the production of magnesium metal and has been supplied as a fire-retardant additive. In water it develops a suspension recognized as milk the magnesia, which has actually long been offered as an antacid and a laxative.

The activity of hydrochloric acid on magnesium hydroxide produce magnesium chloride, MgCl2, a colourless, deliquescent (water-absorbing) substance employed in magnesium steel production, in the produce of a cement for heavy-duty flooring, and as one additive in textile manufacture. The is likewise used come coagulate soy milk in the production of tofu.

Roasting one of two people magnesium lead carbonate or magnesium hydroxide to produce the oxygen compound magnesium oxide, commonly called magnesia, MgO. It is a white solid used in the produce of high-temperature refractory bricks, electrical and thermal insulators, cements, fertilizer, rubber, and plastics. That is likewise used medically together a laxative and also antacid.

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

Among the organometallic compounds of magnesium space the vital Grignard reagents, written of an organic group (e.g., alkyls and aryls), a halogen atom various other than fluorine, and also magnesium. These are supplied in the production of many other type of organic and also organometallic compounds.

See more: How Many Zeros Are In Million, In A Million, Billion, Trillion, To Decillion

Magnesium is important to every living cells, together the Mg2+ ion is affiliated with the critically important organic polyphosphate link DNA, RNA, and adenosine tree phosphate (ATP). Plenty of enzymes depend on magnesium for your functioning. Around one-sixth as plentiful as potassium in human being body cells, magnesium is forced as a catalyst because that enzyme reaction in carbohydrate metabolism. Magnesium likewise is an essential constituent that the environment-friendly pigment chlorophyll, uncovered in basically all plants, algae, and also cyanobacteria. The photosynthetic duty of plants relies upon the action of chlorophyll pigments, i beg your pardon contain magnesium in ~ the centre of a complex, nitrogen-containing ring device (porphyrin). This magnesium compounds permit light energy to drive the conversion of carbon dioxide and also water to carbohydrates and also oxygen and also thus straight or indirectly provide the crucial to virtually all living processes.