The earth has provided tons of resources for human advancements. The layers of earth are abundantly rich with minerals and resources. These minerals are extracted from the crust of the earth surface and utilised in different manners. Moreover, these elements have turned out to be purposeful in several distinctive fields ranging from healthcare to the industrial sectors. One of the most useful minerals out of these is magnesium. This mineral is utilised in different spheres. Moreover, it has paved the ways for further discoveries in vast sectors.

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Magnesium is one of the most chemically active elements found in the periodic table. It is a part of the metal family. It was used for thousands of years but in a clustered form. In the past few decades, scientists have figured out the isolation process of the element ‘magnesium’ and its effective applications. It was the chemist, Sir Humphry Davy who first carried out the purification and isolation of magnesium metal. This experiment was carried out in the year 1808. The metal was first discovered by a scientist named Joseph Black.

Magnesium is donated by the symbol of Mg, and an atomic number of magnesium is 12 in the periodic table. Moreover, the metal possesses abilities to act as a reducing agent under certain conditions. This often results in the formation of essential metal oxides.

The earth’s crust consists of a total of 2 percent of magnesium element. Moreover, it is among the top ten most abundant metals found in the earth layers. Also, it is the most abundant metal present in the seawater. The presence of magnesium can be witnessed in areas like salt layers and brines also.

Since the past few years, magnesium has resulted in several discoveries. It has provided multiple possible applications as well. As a result, it is one of the most versatile metals ever discovered in the field of science and chemistry.

Properties of Magnesium

  • Magnesium element is considered one of the principal elements in the periodic table. With atomic weight as 24.305, it is a member of the alkaline-earth metal family. It occurs in the form of complex compounds like Epsom salt, magnesia, magnesites, oxides, hydroxides, etc.

  • Magnesium metal is the eighth-most abundantly found element in the earth’s crust. However, it is produced by the electrolysis of molten magnesium chloride, commercially. This compound is obtained from the seawater.

  • The metal is silvery-white in appearance and easily ignites in the presence of air. It is lightweight but strong in composition. However, the element holds a density of 1.738 g/mL; this indicates that though it is lightweight but can subsequently sink in water. The surface of the Mg is covered by a thin layer of oxides. This oxide ensures that the metal surface is well protected from the air particles.

  • The Mg element also produces a bright white flame when it is ignited in the presence of air. The metals also showcase high reactivity probability towards halogen elements like bromine, chlorine, etc. and form magnesium compounds.

  • The metal is highly flammable as well. As a result, it is used in the production of bombs and weaponry.

Uses of Magnesium

Magnesium is used for carrying out diverse applications. Due to its abundance in nature, it is easily extracted and put to different uses. However, the isolation process of magnesium requires long time durations. As a result, it is mostly utilised in compound forms. Some of the most common applications of magnesium are-

  • It is used in the production of products which are required to be lightweight. These products are laptops, luggage bags, car seats, power tools, etc.

  • The metal is utilised in the making of fireworks, sparklers, and flares. This is because it ignites easily in the presence of air. Moreover, it showcases a bright light while burning.

  • It is used in the making of explosive and pyrotechnic devices.

  • Since the metal is majorly found in compound form, it is often used as a mordant for carrying our drying processes.

  • Fire retardant plastics are produced by the addition of magnesium hydroxide in the plastic. This compound of magnesium is also used for feeding the cattle. Heat- resistant bricks for furnaces are produced with the help of magnesium oxide.

  • Mg element plays a key role in the biological sphere. It ensures that the process of photosynthesis is carried out effectively.

  • In human bodies also, it is an essential mineral. Magnesium is required to help in the working of multiple enzymes. Also, it is vital for human bones.  

  • The metal is used in the fields of medicines for the treatment of skin-related diseases and deficiencies.  

  • The metal is often used in the aerospace industry in the form of alloys.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the sources of magnesium?

Magnesium is abundantly found in natural resources. It occurs in the earth crust and is also present in the food we consume. Food items like legumes, spinach, nuts, seeds, etc. are rich in magnesium. It is essential for the health of the human body and particularly the bones. As a result, we can say that the sources of magnesium are scattered in different areas around us

The metal is also found in seawater and other related areas.

2. Why is the discovery of Magnesium considered as an important landmark in chemistry?

Mg element is an essential and abundant metal which is used in multiple areas. This is because it exists in the form of various compounds. These compounds possess the properties of the combined elements. Therefore, the resulting properties are greater than the single element. Hence, it is a wonderful element ever discovered in the field of science. The discovery of the magnesium element has provided key aspects in further experiments and discoveries.