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Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

Magnesium is a central component of the chlorophyll molecule, which is responsible for capturing light energy and converting it into chemical energy through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants produce sugars and oxygen from carbon dioxide and water in the presence of light. Without sufficient magnesium, chlorophyll production is impaired, leading to reduced photosynthetic activity and slower plant growth.


A silvery-white metal that ignites easily in air and burns with a bright light.


Magnesium: The Mighty Mineral with Myriad Uses

Magnesium, often referred to as the "mighty mineral," is an essential element with a wide range of uses that extend far beyond its role as a dietary supplement. From industrial applications to healthcare, magnesium's versatility and unique properties make it a critical component in many aspects of our daily lives. In this article, we will explore the numerous uses of magnesium and its significant impact on various industries and our overall well-being.


1. Dietary Health and Nutrition

Magnesium is a vital mineral for human health. It plays a crucial role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including muscle function, nerve function, and the regulation of blood pressure. It is also essential for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and proteins.


2. Medicine and Healthcare

Magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom salt, is used in medicine for various purposes. It is often employed as a laxative to relieve constipation and to treat magnesium deficiency. Additionally, magnesium sulfate can be administered intravenously to prevent seizures in patients with conditions like eclampsia and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.


3. Fire Prevention

Magnesium's resistance to ignition and its ability to extinguish flames make it valuable in fire prevention. Magnesium is often used in the manufacturing of fire-resistant materials and components. It can also serve as a coating or additive to reduce the flammability of various products.


4. Automotive and Aerospace Industries

Magnesium's low density and excellent strength-to-weight ratio make it a preferred choice in the automotive and aerospace industries. Magnesium alloys are used to manufacture lightweight components, such as engine parts, transmission cases, and aircraft components. Its use contributes to improved fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.


5. Metallurgy and Aluminum Production

In metallurgy, magnesium is employed to extract certain metals from their ores. It is used as a reducing agent in the production of metals like titanium, zirconium, and uranium. Additionally, magnesium is essential in the aluminum production process, as it reduces aluminum oxide to produce aluminum metal.


6. Pyrotechnics and Fireworks

The brilliant bursts of light and colors in fireworks displays are often achieved using magnesium powder. When ignited, magnesium produces intense white light, which serves as the base for creating various vibrant hues in fireworks.


7. Manufacturing and Machining

Magnesium alloys are popular in the manufacturing and machining industries due to their lightweight yet strong properties. They are used to create components for various applications, including electronics, tools, and industrial machinery.


8. Electronics and Batteries

Magnesium is found in a variety of electronic devices. It is used in the production of lightweight and durable laptop and smartphone cases. In the realm of batteries, magnesium-based batteries are being researched as a potential alternative to conventional lithium-ion batteries. These magnesium batteries have the potential to store more energy and improve the sustainability of energy storage technologies.


9. Fertilizers and Agriculture

Magnesium is an essential nutrient for plants. It is a key component of chlorophyll, which is crucial for photosynthesis. Magnesium-deficient soils are often treated with magnesium-containing fertilizers to ensure healthy plant growth and higher crop yields.


10. Construction and Building Materials

Magnesium oxide, a compound derived from magnesium, is used in construction and building materials. It is added to cement and concrete mixes to improve their fire resistance, durability, and insulation properties.


11. Magnesium Alloys in Sports Equipment

Sports equipment, such as golf club heads and bicycle frames, benefits from the use of magnesium alloys. These alloys provide lightweight, durable, and high-performance options for athletes and sports enthusiasts.


Magnesium's Multi-Faceted Impact

Magnesium's versatility and remarkable properties have made it an indispensable element in various industries, from healthcare and aerospace to construction and manufacturing. Its significance in promoting human health and well-being is equally noteworthy, as it plays a vital role in the functioning of our bodies.

As science and technology advance, we can expect to discover even more innovative applications for magnesium, further cementing its status as a "mighty mineral" that continues to enhance our lives in myriad ways. Whether in the palm of your hand as a smartphone case, on the factory floor as a lightweight component, or in the soil nurturing crops, magnesium is a remarkable element that truly exemplifies the adage "small but mighty."


Magnesium, symbolized as Mg on the periodic table, is a chemical element that has a rich and intriguing history dating back thousands of years. Its name, "Magnesium," is derived from the Greek word "Magnesia," a region in Thessaly, where a natural compound called magnesium carbonate was first discovered. Throughout history, magnesium has played a role in various fields, from alchemy to modern science and industry. In this article, we will embark on a historical journey through the annals of magnesium's discovery, evolution, and significance in human civilization.


Ancient Beginnings: Magnesia and Magnetism

The story of magnesium begins in ancient Greece, where the region of Magnesia was renowned for its magnetic properties. Ancient philosophers and scholars noted that certain stones found in Magnesia attracted iron, and they referred to these stones as "magnetite." This phenomenon of magnetic attraction was the earliest association with the element we now know as magnesium.


Birth of a New Element

The element magnesium, in its pure form, remained undiscovered for many centuries after the discovery of magnetite. It was not until the early 19th century that magnesium was isolated as a distinct element through various scientific endeavors.


Discovery by Sir Humphry Davy

The honor of isolating magnesium goes to Sir Humphry Davy, the British chemist renowned for his groundbreaking work on electrolysis. In 1808, Davy conducted experiments to isolate and identify new elements by using the recently invented voltaic pile (an early battery). His work led to the successful isolation of both sodium and potassium, as well as the identification of magnesium.

Davy's isolation of magnesium marked a significant step in the field of chemistry and helped establish the concept of the periodic table of elements. This classification system, initially proposed by Dmitri Mendeleev in the 1860s, arranged elements according to their properties and atomic weights.


Early Uses: Photography and Pyrotechnics

Magnesium's properties, such as its lightness and flammability, were quickly recognized and harnessed for various applications. In the mid-19th century, magnesium was employed in early photography as a flash powder. The brilliant, intense light produced by burning magnesium made it ideal for capturing images in low-light conditions. This marked the beginning of magnesium's role in the field of visual documentation.

Additionally, magnesium's use in pyrotechnics became prevalent. It was used to create stunning fireworks displays, and its combustion produced a dazzling, white light that illuminated the night sky. The incandescence of burning magnesium made it a prized component in pyrotechnic compositions.


World War I: Flares and Flares

During World War I, magnesium flares were widely utilized in military operations. These flares illuminated the battlefield at night, aiding soldiers in navigation and targeting. Magnesium's incendiary properties made it an essential component in military signaling and illumination devices.


Modern Applications: Aerospace and Beyond

The aerospace industry embraced magnesium for its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. Magnesium alloys are used in the construction of aircraft components, such as engine parts and structural elements. These alloys provide the advantage of reduced weight, contributing to enhanced fuel efficiency and overall performance.

In modern medicine, magnesium continues to play a critical role. It is used as an antacid and a laxative, and magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) is employed for its therapeutic properties in baths, aiding in muscle relaxation and stress relief.


A Dietary Essential

From its early use in alchemy to its importance in modern science and industry, magnesium has come a long way. Today, magnesium is recognized not only for its industrial and medical applications but also for its role as a dietary essential. It is a vital mineral for human health, with functions in muscle contraction, nerve conduction, and numerous biochemical processes within the body.


A Shining Star Throughout History

The story of magnesium is a fascinating journey through the annals of human civilization. From its early association with magnetism to its discovery as a chemical element and its diverse modern applications, magnesium has proven to be a shining star in the fields of science, industry, and health. Its history is a testament to human curiosity, discovery, and the transformative power of the elements in our world. Magnesium, with its remarkable properties and enduring legacy, continues to illuminate our lives in countless ways.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 1.73
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): Not stable
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.40
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): 1.31
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
737.75 1450.683 7732.692 10542.519 13630.48 18019.6 21711.13 25661.24

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states 2
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
24Mg 23.985 78.99 - -
25Mg 24.986 10 - -
26Mg 25.983 11.01 - -

Supply Risk

Relative Supply Risk: 7.1
Crustal Abundance (ppm): 28104
Recycle Rate (%): 10–30
Production Conc.(%) : 64
Top 3 Producers:
1) China
2) Russia
3) Turkey
Top 3 Reserve Holders:
1) Russia
2) China
3) North Korea
Substitutability: High
Political Stability of Top Producer: 24.1
Political Stability of Top Reserve Holder: 18.4

Pressure and Temperature Data

Specific Heat Capacity: 1023
Shear Modulus: 17.3
Young Modulus: 44.7
Bulk Modulus: 44.7
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
6.53 x 10-9 0.0152 21.5 - - - - - - - 44.7


Transcript :

Known for its super strength, Magnesium is a material that offers significant mass savings over aluminum alloys. Magnesium is an element that has the chemical symbol, M, G, and the atomic number 12. It is a member of the alkaline earth metals group, which includes also Beryllium, Calcium, Strontium, Barium and Radium. This is also a popular chemical reagent. Adding Magnesium oxide to the ozonation process should provide rapid mineralization and degradation of phenols. The purpose of this analysis was to learn how nano-sized Magnesium oxide can affect ozonation catalyst characteristics. The properties of Magnesium were examined through a series of characterization techniques, including X-ray diffraction, nitrogen physisorption analysis, temperature-programmed desorption, and operando spectroscopy.

The zeta potential of Magnesium oxide increases by increasing pH. The higher the pH, the stronger collision occurs between the ozone and the catalysts. The result was an increase in the amount of ozone, adsorbed on the Magnesium oxide surface.

The first recorded discovery of Magnesium occurred in the Magnesia district of north-eastern of Greece. In 1808, British scientist Humphry Davy electrolytically isolated pure Magnesium metal from the oxide of magnesia. He named the new mineral "magnesia" because it was an oxide of the element Magnesium.

The Germans began producing Magnesium on a commercial scale in 1886. By 1938, Germany had become the largest producer of Magnesium in the world.

After the World War two, Magnesium production decreased again. By the late 1940s, almost all of the Magnesium produced was going to the military. During the war, Magnesium was used in star shells to illuminate battlefields at night. It was also used in tracer bullets.

The US was traditionally the dominant Magnesium supplier. In the run up to the Great Recession of 2008, several Magnesium plants closed.

During the First World War, Magnesium was used in star shells, flares, and incendiaries. It was also added to a wide variety of foods and fertilizers. This element was also used as a flashbulb in photography.

In the mid-1920s, Dow Chemical began promoting Magnesium to the aircraft industry. It was believed that Magnesium pistons would be more desirable than aluminum pistons. The price of Magnesium pistons was higher than other alloys. However, they proved to be reliable in aircraft applications.

Within core of our Earth, it ranks eighth in abundance. Magnesium exists in nature only when combined with other elements; it is never created pure. It's no exaggeration to say that Magnesium is one of the most crucial metals in earth. It's also, a critical component of chlorophyll, a molecule that absorbs sunlight. The energy absorbed by plants from light, is transferred to two kinds of energy-storing molecules: glucose and adenosine triphosphate, commonly referred to ATP. This process is named photosynthesis, where plants use the stored energy to convert carbon dioxide absorbed from the air, and water into glucose, which is a type of sugar.

There are many ways to manufacture Magnesium. Cast alloys are made by pouring molten metal into a mold. Next, heat processes are used to improve the material’s mechanical qualities. A few of the latest Magnesium alloys are manufactured via additive manufacturing. By using this method, intricate shapes may be manufactured quickly. The process also reduces the cost of customized production.

Magnesium is a strongly combustible but not inflammable. It is a lightweight metal and known for its strength. It is also extremely resistant to corrosion. Nevertheless. It's extremely reactive and can be attacked by most acids. In spite of its low compressive rigidity, it is quite workable. It can be alloyed with aluminum, zinc, and manganese, which improves its tensile strength and weldability. They are quite powerful for their size and they may be cast and machined and provide for effective damping. Their cost is low, making them an attractive material for transportation.

These alloys have improved properties over the past three decades. Their properties include high strength, recyclability, corrosion resistance, and electromagnetic interference. They are particularly popular in aircraft, spacecraft, and gearboxes for helicopters. Magnesium has a unique blend of properties. It has outstanding mechanical, chemical, and biophysical properties

Magnesium has high thermal conductivity. It is easily manipulated by machining. Magnesium is also a good conductor of electricity. This property is important for battery applications. It is also an excellent antimicrobial substance. Among its most significant benefits is that it can disintegrate in living organisms.

Magnesium has been put to use in a variety of different applications. It is used in a wide variety of industrial applications, such as in the fields of aircraft, technology, and medical equipment.

As an industrial metal, it has been used for many years in the manufacturing of auto parts. Magnesium castings have been used in a variety of applications, including steering wheel components, engine cradles, seats, and four-wheel-drive transfer cases. Magnesium Aluminum Manganese alloy is a good example of a Magnesium alloy that is used for its superior ductility. It is an important element in the aerospace industry, and it is used in everything from propellers to fuel tanks. Magnesium is widely used in the construction industry, and it is one of the most popular building materials in the world. It's also used to make missiles and to produce photographic flash powder.

It is one of the most commonly refractory materials, used for lining high temperature ovens. This element has also been utilized in many other fields, including electronic applications such as cell phone and portable media device housings. It has been discovered that better mechanical properties can be obtained by forming thermally stable phases. Last but not least, the applications of Magnesium are largely found in musculoskeletal and orthopedic applications.


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