Magnesium. Characteristics and application

Magnesium is one of the elements present in every tissue and body fluid in humans. Due to the amount, it is in the fourth place among the minerals of the body. This metal is found in the second main group of the periodic table. What is it characterized by? Where does it occur and what is its use?

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1. When was magnesium discovered?

Magnesium (Latin magnesium), Mg is a chemical element, an alkaline earth metal. It has three stable isotopes: ²⁴ Mg, ²⁵ Mg and ²⁶ Mg.

In 1755, it was first recognized as an element by Joseph Black, and isolated in its pure form in 1808 by Humphry "ego Davy" ego, who gave it its Latin name. The Polish name was proposed by Filip Ceriusz Walter.

Magnesium, together with phosphorus and calcium, builds the mineral structure of the bone tissue, giving it hardness and strength. It increases the viscosity of the cytoplasm, the excitability of the nerve cell membrane and the permeability of cell membranes.

Magnesium also activates many important enzymes and ensures the correct structure of ribosome subunits.

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2. Where is magnesium found?

As one of the most abundant elements, it is found in the earth's crust in the amount of 2.74% in the form of minerals: chenite, carnallite, kainite, bischofite, kieserite and dolomite. It occurs in sea water in the amount of 0.12% in the form of Mg ² + salt solution.

3. Obtaining magnesium

We obtain magnesium by reducing magnesium oxide or by electrochemical methods. We use molten salts for electrolysis - carnallite or magnesium chloride with fluxes, e.g. a mixture of sodium chloride and calcium chloride or fluorspar.

In thermal waters, we use carbon or carbide for reduction at a temperature of about 2000 ° C:

MgO + C ⇌ Mg + CO ↑

or silicon by reacting with the oxides of magnesium and calcium, which come from the calcination of dolomite (in this method, the obtained magnesium is characterized by high purity:

2 (CaO • MgO) + Si → Ca2SiO4 + 2Mg

Ferrosilicon can also be used instead of pure silicon. To protect it from re-oxidation, this process is carried out in an atmosphere of natural gas, hydrogen or in a vacuum.

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4. Characteristics of magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant metal ion in cells and the most abundant free divalent cation. Deeply woven into cellular metabolism.

Magnesium-dependent enzymes can be found in virtually every metabolic pathway. It is sometimes observed as a specific binding of magnesium to biological membranes; is used as a signaling molecule; in addition, most nucleic acid biochemistry requires magnesium (including all reactions that require the release of energy from ATP.)

In the case of nucleotides, the compound's triple phosphate moiety is invariably stabilized in all enzymatic processes by association with magnesium.

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5. Magnesium - the most important information

  • Name, symbol - magnesium, Mg, 12;
  • Group, period, block - 2, 3, s;
  • The degree of oxidation - II;
  • Metallic properties - alkaline earth metal;
  • Properties of oxides - strongly alkaline;
  • Physical state - solid;
  • Atomic weight - 24.304 - 24.307 u [a];
  • Density - 1738 kg / m³;
  • Boiling point 1090 ° C;
  • Melting point - 650 ° C.

6. The use of magnesium

Metallic magnesium is used in organic chemistry to obtain Gringard compounds, as well as in the form of rods for corrosion protection of storage water heaters, which are made of steel (the magnesium anode is installed in the center of the tank).

The alloys of this element are used in the aviation and space industries when aluminum and titanium alloys are too heavy. The alloy of magnesium and lithium has one of the lowest densities, as well as a favorable mechanical strength to weight ratio.

The alloys of aluminum with magnesium (mangals) and of magnesium, manganese, silicon, clay and zinc (electrons) are also used similarly.

Interestingly, magnesium alloys are also used to make housings for electrical and precision devices, such as film cameras, notebooks or cameras.

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