What is Magnesium
The element, magnesium, is the fourth most abundant element on the surface of the earth. It is denoted by the symbol, ‘Mg’ and has an atomic number of 12. The valency of magnesium is 2 and this is the main reason as to why magnesium is a highly reactive metal. Owing to this feature of magnesium, it is never found in the Free State. Magnesium salts are highly soluble in salt water and this can be said to be the main reason for the high percentage of magnesium salts in sea water.
The natural method of preparation of magnesium is by the electrolysis of the brine solution. However, it is to be noted that even on being produced, magnesium tends to get covered by a layer of magnesium oxide on its surface, which serves as a barrier protecting the magnesium from involving in further reactions. Some of the main physical properties of magnesium are as discussed below. Upon ignition, magnesium burns with a bright light, thereby, making it an important ingredient in flares. Also, magnesium has high strength and is comparatively lighter. Thus, magnesium is alloyed with other materials like aluminum to ensure that the magnalium alloy formed has the desirable properties of magnesium. Magnesium ions are slightly sour and to ensure natural taste in mineral water, small amounts of magnesium are added.
Magnesium is shiny grey in color and is generally found in the solid state at room temperature. The boiling point of magnesium is 1091 degree Celsius and it melts at a temperature of 650 degree Celsius. The main isotopic forms of magnesium are Mg 24, Mg 25 and Mg 26. Magnesium is used for a variety of purposes owing to the desirable properties that it has. In many vehicles, magnesium in its alloyed form is made for the production of ‘mag wheels’. Light weight of magnesium and its good electrical properties make it an important component when it comes to the production of electronic devices like mobile phones. Alloys of magnesium with zinc are used in the production of photoengraving plates that are used in the printing industry. In Kroll Process that is used for the production of titanium magnesium is used as one of the main constituents.
Magnesium is very essential for the proper function of the human body too. It is also used as one of the main components of the fertilizers. It is an important constituent of ATP, DNA and many enzymes. Deficiency of magnesium can lead to ailments of various kinds and one can get the required amounts of magnesium by going for a diet that consists of magnesium rich sea food.