Magnesium is an ancient element and is characterized as an alkaline earth metal. it was discovered by Joseph Black in 1700s. It is a very light metal and can withstand high temperatures and is widely used in making electronics and appliances.
Discovery and History
Ancient evidence of the use of magnesium by humans have been reported. Use of magnesium sulphate have been known since 1618, in Epsom town, England. In 1700s, various experimental studies were done on magnesium and Joseph Black reported various traits of magnesium and led to the formal discovery of this metal. The pure form of magnesium was isolated in 1808 by Humphry Davy (English chemist) by passing current through magnesium oxide (molten form). The term magnesium for this element have also been known since centuries and is selected in relation of a region, Magnesia, in Greece as large natural reserves of magnesium are present in this area .
|Periodic Table Classification
|State at 20C
|2, 8, 2
|1.74 g.cm-3 at 20°C
|24.30 g.mol -1
|Electronegativity according to Pauling
Magnesium is the 8th most abundant element in the crust of the Earth (2.1%) . It is also present in oceans in dissolved form. About six million tons of magnesium are present per cubic mile of seawater. Magnesium occurs in the form of various compounds in the Earth and are quite abundant (around 60 naturally occurring compounds). The most commonly known natural compounds of magnesium include Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate), and Dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate). Other naturally occurring minerals of magnesium include dolomite (magnesium carbonate), and carnallite (potassium magnesium chloride). Turkey is ranked as the largest producer of various ores of magnesium, followed by Russia, China, North Korea and Austria. In US, the three main source of magnesium include mines (North Carolina), brine (Utah) and seawater (Texas, Florida). Naturally magnesium is also present in green vegetables, cereals, nuts and seafood.
Magnesium is a silvery-white metal and is moderately hard. Magnesium is unique as it has lightest weight as compared to all other metals. It has an atomic mass of 24.305 and atomic number of 12. Magnesium belongs to the Group 2 (IIA) of periodic tables which makes it one of the alkaline earth elements. The atomic number of magnesium is 12 and its atomic mass is 24.305. The density of magnesium is 1.738 grams per cubic centimeter. Magnesium can easily be molded, shaped, bend and cut and can be turned into various useful products in ways other metals cannot be used. The melting temperature of magnesium is 651 °C and its boiling point is 1100 °C.
The compounds of magnesium are quite stable. Magnesium makes alloys with various metals, which are strong and very light. Magnesium is quite reactive metal. It can readily react with hot water and with oxygen at room temperature. When expose to higher temperatures, it burns with blinding white light. Magnesium also reacts actively with non-metals, including sulfur, fluorine, iodine and bromine. It can react with most acids and with certain bases. Magnesium also reacts with certain gases including carbon dioxide, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. The oxidation state of magnesium is +2.
Uses and Significance
- Around seventy percent of magnesium is used to make magnesium compounds that can withstand extremely high temperatures (refractory material) and are widely used in making ovens.
- A wide variety of magnesium compounds are used in construction and agriculture industry.
- Magnesium is widely used in making fabrics and can be easily molded and cut.
- Magnesium have been used in cameras with flash bulbs.
- Magnesium in widely used in making laptops, mobiles, tablet and cameras, due to its light weight.
- It is used in making fireworks.
- Magnesium is used in the manufacturing of automobiles, race cars, racing bikes, and air planes due to its low density and outstanding strength.
- It is used in making power tools, shovels, ladders, gardening equipment and metal luggage.
- Magnesium acetylsalicylate is used for medical purposes as pain killer.
- It is used in the form of magnesium hydroxide to treat stomach acidity.
- It is used in ceramic and glass industries.
- It is used in making fireproofing wood in construction.
Exposure to high levels of magnesium can lead to irritation of eye and throat which can lead to fever. Magnesium can be neurotoxic and can damage nerves and muscles. Continuous high exposure to magnesium lead to disorientation and paralysis. This is usually an occupational hazard of magnesium and rare in other people.
Magnesium also have biological significance and is essential for the growth and metabolism in animals and plants. It is characterized as the 11 most abundant element in the human body (by mass). Magnesium is the component of chlorophyll in plants and found in many enzymes (around 300) in both plants and animals. The daily requirement of magnesium is 300 to 400 milligrams . Deficiency of magnesium lead to altered mood and cause aggressive behaviors.
Isotopes of Magnesium
Magnesium have three naturally occurring isotopes, 24Mg, 25Mg and 26Mg and one radioactive and less stable isotope is magnesium-28 .
. Abundance and form of the most abundant elements in Earth’s continental crust” (PDF). Retrieved 15 February 2008.
. “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Magnesium”. Office of Dietary Supplements, US National Institutes of Health. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016.