Magnesium is the 12th element in the periodic table and is symbolized as Mg. It is known to be the ninth most abundant element in the universe and is produced in large, aging stars. Thus, when old stars explode, new stars will be formed with magnesium. In the Earth, magnesium is the eighth most abundant element that is found in our planet’s crust. It also makes up 13% of the planets mass as the fourth most common element after iron, oxygen and silicon.
Elemental magnesium is a silver or grey-white coloured lightweight metal which has a density of 1.738 g/mL. Meaning, the element can sink on water relatively because it is light weighted. Despite being an alkaline-earth metal, unlike others, magnesium can be discoloured roughly if exposed to air, and it also has the lowest boiling (1,994 °F) and melting (1,202 °F) point in the group. Magnesium is protected by a thin layer of oxide which is very difficult to remove, making an oxygen-free environment unnecessary for it to be stored in.
|Atomic Mass||24.305 amu|
|State at 20°C||Solid|
|Electron configuration||[Ne] 3s2|
|Melting point||650°C, 1202°F, 923 K|
|Boiling point||1090°C, 1994°F, 1363 K|
|Density (g cm−3)||1.74|
|Relative atomic mass||24.305|
|Number of Protons/Electrons||12|
|Number of Neutrons||12|
In 1755, Edinburgh, Joseph Black was the first person to ever distinguish that magnesium (from the Greek word magnesia) is, in fact, an element. He then recognized the element that is present in lime (calcium oxide, CaO) which is magnesia (magnesium oxide, MgO). Both of which, magnesite and limestone can be produced or conjured by heating up the same carbonate rocks, making it very difficult to differ. Anton Rupprecht, in 1792, then produced an impure form of metallic magnesium by heating magnesia with charcoal.
Later on, in1798, Thomas Henry reported another magnesium mineral that is called meerschaum or magnesium silicate. He stated that the element was much further used in Turkey to create pipes for tobacco smoking.
1808, by the electrolysis of magnesium oxide, Sir Humphry Davy isolated a pure, but tiny, amount of metal. But only later on in 1831where a French scientist was able to produce a large amount of metal by reacting magnesium chloride with potassium, namely, Antoine-Alexandre-Brutus Bussy who began to study its properties.
As it was stated above, magnesium can only occur naturally when combined with other known elements as it is produced artificially because of its highly reactive composition, and it also has a +2 oxidation state. Magnesium is highly flammable and when burned, the element will be engulfed with a brilliant-white light.
To make the element, magnesium, electrolysis of magnesium salts (from brine) will be done, and will serve its purpose as a primary component in aluminium-magnesium alloys that can be called as magnalium or magnelium. It is likely, less dense than of the aluminium and very remarkable because of its lightness and strength.
In our body, magnesium is the eleventh most abundant element by mass wherein its ions have a very important role to our cells. The element’s ions interact with polyphosphate compounds and most of our body’s enzymes need magnesium to function properly. That is why the hydroxide (milk of magnesia), chloride, sulphate (Epsom salts), and the citrate are used in medicine. Its compounds also serve as laxatives and are able to stabilize abnormal nerve excitation or blood vessel spasms.
Magnesium ions help imparts a natural bitter taste to different fresh water mineral. It is also commonly used in making fertilizers, aircrafts, car engine casings, missile constructions, and is used in flares and pyrotechnics, including incendiary bombs.