Magnesium: Properties and Applications

The chemical element magnesium belongs to the group of alkaline earth metals. It is the fourth most widespread element in the Earth and the eighth most abundant in Earth’s crust. Despite such prevalence, this metal never occurs free in nature, only in the combination with other elements, for instance: oxygen, carbon or calcium. The main sources of magnesium are rocky minerals, like magnesite or dolomite, and seawater.

The first person to isolate the pure element was Cornish chemist Humphry Davy in 1808.  He electrolyzed the mixture of mercuric oxide and moist magnesia. Later in 1831, French chemist Antoine Bussy could obtain the significant amount of the substance. The new element was called “magnesium” for Magnesia, the region in Greece where the mineral magnesia alba was found for the first time.

Properties of Magnesium

As to the appearance, magnesium is silvery grey solid. It is very light and is known as the lightest structural metal in the industry. Here are some more properties of the metal:

  • Element symbol: Mg;
  • CAS number: 7439-95-4;
  • Atomic number: 12;
  • Melting point: 650 °C;
  • Boiling point: 1107 °C;
  • Density at 20 °C: 1.738 g/cm3.

It has the same electron configuration as all the elements of group 2, as well as the similar crystal structure. Magnesium is insoluble in cold water; however, its solubility slightly increases with heating water. It can join together with mineral acids and most of the non-metals. The substance acts as a catalyst in organic reactions of dehalogenation, condensation, addition, and reduction.

The important characteristic of this metal and its alloys is their explosive hazard and extreme flammability. That is why they should be handled and stored with special care.


Due to its availability and relative non-toxicity, magnesium has many uses in industry, agriculture, and laboratory. Its alloys with aluminum are applied in airplane and car constructions. The compounds of this element serve as refractory material in the manufacture of glass, cement, and metals. Because of its lightness, the element is widely used in cases, where weight reduction plays an important role, e.g. production of laptops, cameras, cellphones, etc. Besides, its applications include pyrotechnics, flash photography, pharmaceutics and many others. Buy magnesium for your research needs at our website and you will get top-quality material at reasonable price.

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