Magnesium is a silvery-white metal and chemical element represented by the symbol Mg. It is the ninth most abundant element in the universe and the eighth most common element in the crust of the Earth. It is found in over 60 minerals, but only 6 of these are commercially important. The largest producer of magnesium is China at more than 600,000 tonnes per year. Here are some of the common uses of magnesium in the world today!
Uses of Magnesium
- Magnesium is widely used as a part of aluminum alloys. This includes alloys used in aluminum beverage cans.
- Magnesium, alloyed with zinc, is used in die casting. In this process the molten metal is forced into a mold (die) under high pressure and this takes on the shape of the mold when it cools.
- Another important use of the metal is to remove sulfur during the production of iron and steel.
- In the Kroll process, magnesium is used to obtain titanium from the minerals rutile or ilmenite.
- Magnesium is both strong and light. This makes it ideal for use in automobile and truck parts. It is often alloyed with other strong metals, such as aluminium to create an extra strong alloy.
- Due to its low weight and good mechanical and electrical properties, magnesium is used to manufacture cell phones (mobile phones), laptops and cameras. It can also be used to make some other electrical components.
- Three different compounds of magnesium are used as antiseptics.
- Textiles are ‘moth-proofed’ (become resistant to moths) through the use of a magnesium compound.
- Magnesium sulfite is used in the manufacture of paper.
- Magnesium bromide can be used as a mild sedative. However, it is the action of the bromine that causes the sedative effect.
- The powder that gymnasts and weightlifters use to improve grip is magnesium carbonate.
- Magnesium ions are essential for all living creatures. Therefore, magnesium salts are added to foods and fertilizers.
- Magnesium can be used as a reducing agent, such as producing uranium from its salt.
- As magnesium produces a bright, white light when it burns. This makes it ideal for use in flash photography, flares and firework sparklers.
- It is also used as a sacrificial anode, which is used to prevent metal structures from corrosion.
- Alloyed with zinc to create zinc sheet. This is used for a variety of purposes such as battery walls and roofing.