- Atomic Number: 12
- Atomic Weight: 24
- Boiling Point: 1090 °C (1994 °F)
- Melting Point: 650 °C (1202 °F)
- Discovered by: Joseph Black discovered magnesium in 1755, but
Sir Humphry Davy isolatedit in 1808.
Magnesium is a chemical element which is used in fireworks and gives bright white light. On our earth,it is the 18th most abundant element and makes about 13% of the weight of the earth. After sodium and chlorine elements, magnesium is also an abundant element in seawater.
Characteristics and Properties
In the periodic table,magnesium has been placed in the group of alkaline earth metals and has the atomic number of 12. Most of the time,it is covered with dull white colour on account of oxidation,though is a shiny grey metal. Its valence shell consists of only 2 electrons.This makes it an electro positive element having an oxidation state of 2+.
A few more properties and characteristics of magnesium are as follows:
- Shiny grey in colour
- Very reactive metal
- Changes into dull white colour in presence of air
Magnesium is widely used in the making of alloys with various metals. Magnesium is much stronger and lighter as compared to most of the metals. Hence, when it is mixed with other metals,like aluminium, copper and zinc,a strong and lightweight alloy is formed. Frames of cars, aircraft and missiles are made using the alloys of magnesium.
Various medicines, and one of the most famous medicine magnesium hydroxide, also called milk of magnesia, are made using magnesium. Magnesium hydroxide is useful in indigestion, and during acidity,it neutralises the acids in the stomach. In addition, in our body,magnesium is an important mineral which prepares proteins and makes bones stronger.
Where is it found?
Magnesium is an abundant element which is found in different minerals. Magnesium oxide is the most common compound of magnesium, which accounts for 35% mass of the earth’s crust. Carnallite, magnesite,dolomite and talcare some other important and abundant minerals of magnesium.
Magnesium is also found in seawater abundantly and can be extracted from it very easily. By the electrolysis process,a good amount of elemental magnesium is extracted from sea water in the United States.
Before the recognitionof magnesium as an element, its minerals were used by the people. In the year 1618, at Epsom in England,a farmer gave a bucket filled from a well to his cow. But, the cow didn’t drink it due to the bitter taste of water. Then the farmer washed his hands and feet with that water. He noticed that the water healed the scratches and rashes on his skin. Then the mineral extracted from the water of that well was referred to as Epsom salt. It is a compound of magnesium with a chemical formula Mg.SO4.7H2O.
A Scottish chemist, Joseph Black,gave the evidence of magnesium element. In 1755, he proved that magnesia alba (MgO) is just a compound of a number of elements, and magnesium is one of them.
After the discovery of magnesium element,an English chemist, Sir Humphry Davy,isolated elemental magnesium in 1808.
- People confused magnesium with calcium and considered them a single element before the recognition of magnesium as an element.
- Magnesium,on burning in the air and fireworks, gives bright white light.
- If water is poured directly on the burning magnesium metal,it will make the fire worse.
- Magnesium is a very reactive element. If we fire it with a flame, it will very easily burn with bright white light.