Magnesium is 12th element of periodic table, where it is indicated by symbol Mg. It is silver-white, exceptionally light metal. Under normal conditions, it practically does not change in air — it is protected from oxidation by thin surface layer of oxide.
|Atomic number||Atomic (molar) mass g/mol||Oxidation state||
|Melting point t °С||Boiling point t °С||Heat of fusion kJ/kg|
Discovery of magnesium is associated with mineral waters of Epsom spring in England. There in 1695 salt was evaporated from water (it was magnesium sulfate), with bitter taste and laxative effect. Pharmacists immediately dubbed it Epsom salt. In its pure form, metal was isolated only after two centuries, at beginning of twentieth century.
United States, Russia, Norway and China are richest in magnesium. Brucite and magnesite 1/3 consist of magnesium salts, and kieserite, epsomite, dolomite — 1/6. Magnesium salts are readily soluble. Up to 0.13% Mg is contained in sea water. Magnesite is removed from bowels by geothermal waters. Deposits of sedimentary lakes are especially rich in magnesium salts. Deposits of sedimentary salts of carnallite are found everywhere. Dolomite deposits are also associated with hot springs. Their stocks are huge. Most of them formed millions of years ago by sedimentary.
Magnesium is important electrolyte in regulation of metabolism. As doctors found out, bischofite applications treat disorders of musculoskeletal system, primarily spine and joints, are indispensable in rehabilitation of injuries.
Technical magnesium is obtained by electrolysis of melt of mixture of salts of magnesium chloride, sodium and potassium. Such metal is contaminated with impurities and needs additional cleaning by electrolytic refining, remelting in vacuum together with special fluxes. Vacuum sublimation is often used. Refined magnesium purity 99.999% and higher. Another thermal method is based on reduction of MgO with silicon or coke at high temperature. So silicon makes it easy to separate magnesium from dolomite. Price of magnesium in bullion is about $ 3/kg.
Mg dissolves readily in acids with hydrogen evolution. Alkalis do not affect him. It quickly corrodes in seawater and solution of 3% sodium chloride, forming hydroxide. Mg is stable in alcohols (except methyl), in gasoline, kerosene, freon and mineral oils. It is an energetic reducing agent; it displaces less active elements from compounds. It restores other metals from salt solutions at room temperature. When incandescent, it takes away oxygen from alkalis and oxides, using magnesium powder, you can get simple compounds. This valuable property allows it to be used to produce titanium.
Mg is very light, its density at 20 °C is about 1.7 g/cm³, melting point 651 °C, boiling point: 1103 °C. Its surface is covered with film of oxide, which at 623 °C is destroyed, after which magnesium burns. Foil and Mg powder are ignited by ordinary match and burn not only in air, but also in carbon dioxide. bright magnesium flash, which even has ultraviolet rays in its spectrum, was used in photography until beginning of the 20th century. This property — to burn with dazzling bright flame is indispensable in lighting and signal rockets, tracer bullets and shells, incendiary bombs. In pioneer camps he was added to bonfires that were lit at closing or opening of shift. Such bonfires scattered sheaf of sparks. Mixture of powders of magnesium and potassium permanganate — explosive.
Magnesium is very lightweight ductile metal. It bends well, stamped, rolled, drilled and cut. However, in its pure form it is fragile and is not suitable for loaded structures. For this, magnesium alloys are used with zinc, aluminum, beryllium, manganese, titanium or rare earth elements. They are corrosion resistant and have significant specific strength. Such alloys are obtained by flux-free melting in inert atmosphere. Due to this, homogeneous structure is formed, characterized by physical and mechanical stability. Such alloys have exceptionally wide scope.
Percentage composition of magnesium alloys (GOST 2581−78)
|MCr1N3||-||-||0,2−0,5||0,4−1,1 Zr — 2,6−3,2 Nd||0,02||0,02||0,01||0,004||0,01|
Today, magnesium has become basis of lightest structural materials. Alloy of aluminum and magnesium is characterized by significant specific strength, relevant in modern aviation and automotive industries. Lightest fragments of airplanes, helicopters and airships are made from this alloy. This gives major advantage when developing new models. Today, this alloy has become basis for glider parts, fairings, ailerons, cabin doors, chassis, control levers, instrument and pump housings, oxygen and fuel tanks. Magnesium alloy parts by reducing weight reduce fuel consumption and increase efficiency of modern cars. Magnesium alloys produce automobile crankcase, parts for shock absorbers, pumps and devices, tank covers. Magnesium wheels for wheels give not only lightness and durability, but also stylish look. In instrumentation, magnesium rolling is necessary for instrument housings, binoculars, mobile phones, video cameras. Such hire is used in manufacture of electric batteries, and insignificant absorption of thermal neutrons has become basis for use of magnesium in production of fuel elements.
Magnesium salts (bromide and perchlorate) are used in modern powerful batteries, which differ in significant capacity and discharge voltage. Magnesium-sulfur batteries are still at stage of promising development. Magnesium perchlorate is also used for deep drying of gases. MgO is part of refractories for production of crucibles and lining of industrial furnaces. Synthetic MgF2 single crystals are basis of special optics.
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