Magnesium is a brilliant white metal, which is relatively soft. It is one of the more abundant elements, there being 23000 ppm in the earth’s crust. As a powder, magnesium is extremely reactive, but as a solid it oxidises slowly in air and reacts slowly in water. It does not occur naturally, but is found in combination with other elements in minerals such as magnesite (MgCO3, primarily) and dolomite (the double carbonate of magnesium and calcium). As with other elements in groups 1 and 2 of the periodic table, it can be produced by electrolysis of the molten halide. Applications of magnesium include its use as a deoxidiser for copper, brass and nickel alloys and it is also added to several aluminium base alloys. It is the basis of strong, light alloys used in the aircraft and automobile industries (e.g. in engine assemblies). Alloys with zirconium and thorium have also been investigated for their use in aircraft manufacture. Pure magnesium can also be used as a sacrificial electrode to protect other metals.


Recognised in 1755 by Joseph Black in Edinburgh, Scotland, and isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1808 in London.

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Atomic number 12 Clip
Atomic / Molecular Weight 24.305 gmol-1Clip
Lattice constant 321 fmClip
Autoignition Temperature 746 KClip
Tensile strength 6e7 to 1.9e8 Nm-2Clip
Youngs modulus 41000000000 Nm-2Clip
Poissons ratio 0.35 Clip
Linear expansivity 0.0000248 K-1Clip
Specific heat capacity 1030 Jkg-1K-1Clip
Thermal conductivity 150 Wm-1K-1Clip
Acoustic wave velocity (longitudinal bulk waves) 5823 ms-1Clip
Acoustic wave velocity (Irrotational waves) 5082 ms-1Clip
Acoustic wave velocity (Shear waves) 3163 ms-1Clip
Acoustic wave velocity (Rayleigh waves) 2930 ms-1Clip
Bulk Modulus of Rigidity 44700000000 Nm-2Clip
Electromotive Series 2.4 VClip
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See also: Calcium Magnesium Acetate, Light Metal, Magnesium Aspartate, Magnesium Benzoate, Magnesium Bromide, Magnesium Carbonate, Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Diboride, Magnesium Diglutamate, Magnesium Diuranate, Magnesium Fluoride, Magnesium Gluconate, Magnesium Hydride, Magnesium Hydroxide, Magnesium Iodide, Magnesium Nitrate, Magnesium Nitride, Magnesium Orotate, Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Perchlorate, Magnesium Peroxide, Magnesium Silicide, Magnesium Stearate, Magnesium Sulphate, Magnesium Sulphide, Magnesium Sulphite, Magnesium Trisilicate, Periodic Table.

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Subjects: Chemistry