Atomistry » Magnesium
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    PDB 1uet-1v55 »
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    PDB 1vq4-1w54 »
    PDB 1w55-1wdd »
    PDB 1wdt-1x1r »
    PDB 1x1s-1xfw »
    PDB 1xfx-1xom »
    PDB 1xon-1xyb »
    PDB 1xyc-1yd1 »
    PDB 1ydf-1yqt »
    PDB 1yqw-1yzq »
    PDB 1yzt-1z6j »
    PDB 1z6k-1zk1 »
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    PDB 207d-2a69 »
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    PDB 2c3y-2chm »
    PDB 2cic-2cvx »
    PDB 2cvy-2dh4 »
    PDB 2dkg-2e6b »
    PDB 2e74-2eim »
    PDB 2ein-2f6v »
    PDB 2f6w-2fl0 »
    PDB 2fl2-2fwn »
    PDB 2fwq-2g91 »
    PDB 2g9y-2gq3 »
    PDB 2gqp-2h9s »
    PDB 2haw-2hk6 »
    PDB 2hkj-2hxd »
    PDB 2hxf-2idx »
    PDB 2iea-2iut »
    PDB 2ivn-2j5v »
    PDB 2j5x-2jg1 »
    PDB 2jg2-2msd »
    PDB 2mse-2o4g »
    PDB 2o52-2oh5 »
    PDB 2oh6-2oun »
    PDB 2oup-2p7v »
    PDB 2p88-2pp3 »
    PDB 2ppb-2q0d »
    PDB 2q0e-2q9l »
    PDB 2q9p-2qq6 »
    PDB 2qrf-2r1x »
    PDB 2r1y-2re9 »
    PDB 2reu-2uxc »
    PDB 2uxd-2v7q »
    PDB 2v7y-2vf7 »
    PDB 2vfj-2vrn »
    PDB 2vsc-2wat »
    PDB 2wb1-2wjn »
    PDB 2wkk-2x03 »
    PDB 2x0q-2xbj »
    PDB 2xbn-2xma »
    PDB 2xnd-2xzo »
    PDB 2xzs-2y8i »
    PDB 2yaz-2yng »
    PDB 2yni-2z4v »
    PDB 2z4w-2zi4 »
    PDB 2zin-2zuw »
    PDB 2zvj-3a0h »
    PDB 3a0t-3ab8 »
    PDB 3abk-3al5 »
    PDB 3aln-3axk »
    PDB 3axm-3bbx »
    PDB 3bc1-3brb »
    PDB 3bre-3c5g »
    PDB 3c5h-3cd6 »
    PDB 3cf5-3cph »
    PDB 3cpj-3czj »
    PDB 3d19-3des »
    PDB 3dev-3dtr »
    PDB 3dts-3e2v »
    PDB 3e35-3ef1 »
    PDB 3ef8-3eqi »
    PDB 3eql-3f2k »
    PDB 3f2q-3fcu »
    PDB 3fcv-3fpi »
    PDB 3fpk-3fyy »
    PDB 3fzi-3g82 »
    PDB 3g8c-3gn4 »
    PDB 3gn6-3gwt »
    PDB 3gx2-3hc8 »
    PDB 3hd1-3hoy »
    PDB 3hoz-3hww »
    PDB 3hwx-3i5f »
    PDB 3i5x-3ig5 »
    PDB 3ig8-3irw »
    PDB 3is5-3jas »
    PDB 3jat-3jwg »
    PDB 3jwq-3k8t »
    PDB 3k8y-3kia »
    PDB 3kjv-3ktc »
    PDB 3ktn-3l8h »
    PDB 3l8y-3loj »
    PDB 3loo-3m07 »
    PDB 3m0e-3mey »
    PDB 3mf4-3muy »
    PDB 3muz-3n82 »
    PDB 3n84-3nkb »
    PDB 3nkv-3o0n »
    PDB 3o0o-3ogh »
    PDB 3ogn-3osp »
    PDB 3osu-3p0f »
    PDB 3p0w-3pgk »
    PDB 3pgl-3pwi »
    PDB 3pwx-3q80 »
    PDB 3q85-3qpe »
    PDB 3qpn-3r0n »
    PDB 3r0u-3ref »
    PDB 3reg-3rqh »
    PDB 3rqq-3rv0 »
    PDB 3rv3-3s87 »
    PDB 3s8a-3shz »
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    PDB 3wc0-3wo0 »
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    PDB 3x0e-3zhu »
    PDB 3zhv-3zw7 »
    PDB 3zwd-4a1n »
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    PDB 4egc-4eqs »
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    PDB 4f6t-4fi1 »
    PDB 4fi3-4frz »
    PDB 4fs1-4g75 »
    PDB 4g7e-4gmx »
    PDB 4gn0-4gxy »
    PDB 4gyi-4h99 »
    PDB 4h9d-4hiz »
    PDB 4hjh-4hxv »
    PDB 4hyp-4iac »
    PDB 4iad-4ii5 »
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    PDB 4iw3-4j8x »
    PDB 4j96-4jiv »
    PDB 4jiw-4jt2 »
    PDB 4jt4-4k5n »
    PDB 4k5o-4kfr »
    PDB 4kfs-4knr »
    PDB 4knv-4kvd »
    PDB 4kvg-4l9s »
    PDB 4l9w-4lhu »
    PDB 4lhv-4lrw »
    PDB 4lrz-4m30 »
    PDB 4m32-4mf8 »
    PDB 4mfa-4mo5 »
    PDB 4mo7-4n8f »
    PDB 4n93-4nku »
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    PDB 4nx8-4o4j »
    PDB 4o4l-4og2 »
    PDB 4ogc-4oqp »
    PDB 4oqu-4p4o »
    PDB 4p4s-4pip »
    PDB 4pj0-4pwx »
    PDB 4pxx-4q66 »
    PDB 4q6x-4qg8 »
    PDB 4qg9-4qny »
    PDB 4qox-4qw5 »
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    PDB 4ust-4v25 »
    PDB 4v26-4weo »
    PDB 4wf7-4wub »
    PDB 4wuc-4x64 »
    PDB 4x65-4xep »
    PDB 4xer-4xrp »
    PDB 4xru-4y1o »
    PDB 4y1p-4y8g »
    PDB 4y8h-4yd1 »
    PDB 4ydh-4yn8 »
    PDB 4ynq-4z3z »
    PDB 4z40-4zgn »
    PDB 4zgy-4zoc »
    PDB 4zod-521p »
    PDB 5a0y-5a99 »
    PDB 5a9f-5avr »
    PDB 5avs-5b48 »
    PDB 5b4k-5bta »
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    PDB 5c1o-5c8y »
    PDB 5c9h-5cg6 »
    PDB 5cga-5cnu »
    PDB 5cnv-5d0z »
    PDB 5d1f-5d9c »
    PDB 5d9d-5di3 »
    PDB 5di9-5dqk »
    PDB 5dql-5e5s »
    PDB 5e63-5ee5 »
    PDB 5ee9-5eru »
    PDB 5erv-5f35 »
    PDB 5f3r-5fhd »
    PDB 5fhe-5fsb »
    PDB 5fsc-5g5t »
    PDB 5g5v-5gqy »
    PDB 5gqz-5gxt »
    PDB 5gxv-5hdb »
    PDB 5he1-5hpz »
    PDB 5hq4-5i2d »
    PDB 5i2r-5ikz »
    PDB 5il3-5it9 »
    PDB 5itz-5j2c »
    PDB 5j2d-5jaj »
    PDB 5jal-5jlr »
    PDB 5jm8-5jy6 »
    PDB 5jyd-5kb3 »
    PDB 5kb5-5kq8 »
    PDB 5kqw-5l5f »
    PDB 5l5h-5lai »
    PDB 5laj-5lkk »
    PDB 5lkm-5ls7 »
    PDB 5ls9-5m2t »
    PDB 5m3f-5mdl »
    PDB 5mdn-5mpq »
    PDB 5mps-5n5r »
    PDB 5n5t-5nm5 »
    PDB 5nmw-5o2l »
    PDB 5o2s-5och »
    PDB 5ocm-5okz »
    PDB 5olc-5ory »
    PDB 5orz-5p98 »
    PDB 5p99-5phz »
    PDB 5pi0-5pj3 »
    PDB 5pj4-5pk7 »
    PDB 5pk8-5plb »
    PDB 5plc-5pmf »
    PDB 5pmg-5pnj »
    PDB 5pnk-5qjt »
    PDB 5qju-5r96 »
    PDB 5r97-5rx0 »
    PDB 5s4l-5s5o »
    PDB 5s5p-5szh »
    PDB 5szi-5ter »
    PDB 5tes-5tsh »
    PDB 5tt5-5u0n »
    PDB 5u0q-5ugr »
    PDB 5ugx-5up0 »
    PDB 5upk-5v1o »
    PDB 5v1p-5vn4 »
    PDB 5vn6-5vw2 »
    PDB 5vw3-5w3f »
    PDB 5w3h-5wfr »
    PDB 5wg3-5ws6 »
    PDB 5ws8-5x6a »
    PDB 5x6i-5xdq »
    PDB 5xdr-5xk8 »
    PDB 5xk9-5xr6 »
    PDB 5xr7-5y1w »
    PDB 5y1x-5yjw »
    PDB 5yjx-5yuy »
    PDB 5yuz-5z44 »
    PDB 5z45-5ze4 »
    PDB 5ze6-5zyd »
    PDB 5zz2-6a75 »
    PDB 6a7d-6ah0 »
    PDB 6ah3-6as7 »
    PDB 6asa-6b1m »
    PDB 6b1n-6bbr »
    PDB 6bbz-6bno »
    PDB 6bnp-6byr »
    PDB 6byu-6c6t »
    PDB 6c6u-6ceo »
    PDB 6cer-6cm2 »
    PDB 6cm9-6ctr »
    PDB 6ctt-6czc »
    PDB 6czd-6d8n »
    PDB 6d8o-6djq »
    PDB 6dko-6dow »
    PDB 6dox-6duh »
    PDB 6duk-6e61 »
    PDB 6e6c-6ehs »
    PDB 6ekg-6ezf »
    PDB 6ezu-6fbd »
    PDB 6fbe-6fij »
    PDB 6fir-6fpy »
    PDB 6fr2-6g31 »
    PDB 6g3r-6gf3 »
    PDB 6gfa-6gni »
    PDB 6go4-6gru »
    PDB 6grw-6h21 »
    PDB 6h2j-6ha3 »
    PDB 6had-6hlf »
    PDB 6hlq-6hv4 »
    PDB 6hv5-6hz6 »
    PDB 6hz7-6i7h »
    PDB 6i7i-6iht »
    PDB 6ihu-6is1 »
    PDB 6is2-6j5i »
    PDB 6j5j-6jfo »
    PDB 6jgj-6jtg »
    PDB 6jul-6k28 »
    PDB 6k2u-6kdm »
    PDB 6kdn-6kpk »
    PDB 6kpp-6kz6 »
    PDB 6kze-6lgf »
    PDB 6lgg-6ltg »
    PDB 6lti-6m32 »
    PDB 6m34-6mgg »
    PDB 6mgj-6mt9 »
    PDB 6mta-6n5k »
    PDB 6n5n-6njd »
    PDB 6nje-6nnp »
    PDB 6nnt-6ny6 »
    PDB 6nya-6oe3 »
    PDB 6oem-6oq4 »
    PDB 6oq5-6p0a »
    PDB 6p0b-6p7m »
    PDB 6p7n-6pck »
    PDB 6pcl-6pp9 »
    PDB 6ppu-6q0j »
    PDB 6q0t-6qel »
    PDB 6qem-6qs7 »
    PDB 6qs8-6r3v »
    PDB 6r47-6rbm »
    PDB 6rca-6re7 »
    PDB 6re8-6rir »
    PDB 6ris-6rqf »
    PDB 6rqg-6s2t »
    PDB 6s2u-6sa5 »
    PDB 6sae-6snp »
    PDB 6so1-6t0h »
    PDB 6t0i-6tdy »
    PDB 6tdz-6tps »
    PDB 6tqa-6u03 »
    PDB 6u05-6uby »
    PDB 6ubz-6ulg »
    PDB 6uln-6ut5 »
    PDB 6ut6-6v9k »
    PDB 6v9l-6vjj »
    PDB 6vjs-6vvx »
    PDB 6vvy-6wak »
    PDB 6wbs-6wob »
    PDB 6woc-6wvj »
    PDB 6wvk-6x2m »
    PDB 6x2n-6xb9 »
    PDB 6xbw-6xl4 »
    PDB 6xl5-6xtx »
    PDB 6xu0-6y44 »
    PDB 6y4m-6yem »
    PDB 6yez-6ysi »
    PDB 6yso-6z2w »
    PDB 6z2x-6zec »
    PDB 6zga-6zp6 »
    PDB 6zp8-6zz6 »
    PDB 6zzx-7abj »
    PDB 7ac5-7ak1 »
    PDB 7akm-7auu »
    PDB 7awt-7ba6 »
    PDB 7ba7-7bog »
    PDB 7boh-7c52 »
    PDB 7c79-7cj7 »
    PDB 7cje-7cqu »
    PDB 7ct3-7d82 »
    PDB 7d86-7dfu »
    PDB 7dhw-7dxh »
    PDB 7dy6-7eg7 »
    PDB 7eg8-7epk »
    PDB 7epu-7jgr »
    PDB 7jgs-7jp9 »
    PDB 7jpo-7k05 »
    PDB 7k06-7ked »
    PDB 7kee-7klt »
    PDB 7klu-7ku7 »
    PDB 7kuk-7l1r »
    PDB 7l1s-7lmz »
    PDB 7ln0-7m0w »
    PDB 7m0x-7mca »
    PDB 7mdi-7mkq »
    PDB 7mky-7nax »
    PDB 7nb4-7nre »
    PDB 7nrf-7o1x »
    PDB 7o1z-7oc5 »
    PDB 7och-7oop »
    PDB 7oow-7p7y »
    PDB 7p84-7prc »
    PDB 7psm-7rla »
    PDB 7rlc-7s61 »
    PDB 7s65-8icd »
    PDB 8ici-9rub »

Element Magnesium, Be, Alkaline Earth Metal

About Magnesium

Magnesium bears the same relation to calcium as sodium does to potassium. This relation finds expression not only in the values of the combining weights, but also in the similarities to the other members of the group. This is particularly well seen in the fact that magnesium is of more frequent occurrence than calcium, and that, in its properties, it differs from calcium more than the latter does from the corresponding elements of higher combining weight, strontium and barium.

That an elementary metal is present in the magnesium salt, was regarded by Davy as indubitable from the time that the corresponding fact was recognised in the case of potassium and sodium. Bunsen, however, was the first to prepare the metal itself. He obtained it by the electrolysis of the fused chloride.

The electrolysis can be performed in the lecture by employing fused carnallite as electrolyte. The partition and the prolongation of the crucible are of asbestos mill-board, the cathode is a piece of iron wire, and the anode a thin arc-carbon. The strength of the current is about 3-10 amperes.

Magnesium is now manufactured in very large amount by electrolysis, and is used for various purposes. It is a white, rather tough metal, which keeps fairly well in the air; it is scarcely attacked by cold water, but in boiling water it slowly evolves hydrogen. In dilute acids it very rapidly dissolves, with energetic evolution of hydrogen. It melts at about 750°, and volatilises at a bright white heat.

Heated in the air, magnesium burns with a very bright, white flame, which is largely made use of. For example, instantaneous photographs can be easily taken by magnesium light. For this purpose magnesium is used in powder form, and is either blown through a flame or is mixed with potassium chlorate or perchlorate, sometimes with potassium permanganate, and ignited.

The former method has the advantage that comparatively little metal is required, especially when pure oxygen is used instead of air for blowing it; but it has the disadvantage that the flash lasts for a comparatively long time, about 0.3 second. The second method requires larger quantities of magnesium, but the flash lasts only 0.1 second, or less. The last-mentioned mixture, however, is rather dangerous, as it readily explodes; it ought not, therefore, to be prepared in large quantity.

Magnesium is also used for other purposes where a bright, transient light is required; in such cases the magnesium is generally burned in the form of ribbon in specially constructed lamps. Magnesium is also used for adding to fireworks.

Magnesium is an exceedingly effective reducing agent at a high temperature. Silicon, boron, and most of the other metals can be obtained by heating their oxygen compounds with magnesium powder, the latter thereby passing into its oxide, MgO.

Occurrence of Magnesium

Meteorites, which are samples of extra-terrestrial origin, often contain combined magnesium. It is, after iron, their most important metallic constituent. Magnesium has been spectroscopically discovered in the sun, and in the earth's crust the number of its atoms has been estimated as 1.67 per cent, of the total of elementary atoms.

Magnesium compounds are widely distributed over the earth. Magnesium chloride, MgCl2, and, to a lesser extent, magnesium bromide, MgBr2, and magnesium iodide, MgI2, occur in natural waters - including sea-water. The slightly soluble magnesium fluoride, MgF2, occurs as the mineral sellaite. Sea-water and most mineral springs contain more salts of magnesium than of calcium, but in river-water calcium salts preponderate. Magnesium sulphate is a prevalent magnesium salt in natural water, and Epsom salts, MgSO4.7H2O, derive their name from their occurrence in the famous mineral spring at Epsom. MgSO4.7H2O occurs as the mineral epsomite or, as it is called when found in the Stassfurt deposits, reichardtite.

The Stassfurt deposits had a marine origin, and consist of narrow bands of anhydrous calcium sulphate, interspersed, at fairly regular intervals, through a mass of rock salt. Beds rich in magnesium and potassium salts cap the narrow seams of calcium sulphate. The deposits divide roughly into four regions -

  1. Anhydrite, CaSO4.
  2. Polyhalite, 2CaSO4.MgSO4.KSO4.2H2O, about 60 metres.
  3. Kieserite, MgSO4.H2O, about 30 metres.
  4. Carnallite, MgCl2.KCl4.6H2O, about 23 metres.


These deposits are the most important commercial source of magnesium and its salts. They contain also the following salts - tachhydrite, CaCl2.2MgCl2.12H2O, krugite, KSO4.4CaSO4.MgSO4.2H2O, bischoffite, MgCl2.6H2O, kainite, KCl.MgSO4.3H2O, schonite or picromerite, KSO4.MgSO4.6H2O, leonite, KSO4.MgSO4.4H2O, langbeinite, KSO4.2MgSO4, blodite or astrakanite, Na2SO4.MgSO4.4H2O, loewite, Na2SO4.MgSO4.2H2O, and vanthoffite, 3Na2SO4.MgSO4.

The double sulphate, (NH4)2SO4.MgSO4.6H2O, occurs as boussingaultite.

Many natural waters contain magnesium bicarbonate, Mg(HCO3)2; normal carbonates are represented in many mineral species. MgCO3 occurs as magnesite; breunnerite, (Mg,Fe)CO3, occurs in meteorites. Nesquehonite is MgCO3.3H2O, and dolomite, (Ca,Mg)CO3, is widely distributed. Many mountain ranges consist largely of this important mineral species. Ankerite is (Mg,Fe)CO3.CaCO3.

Basic carbonates occur as hydromagnesite, 3MgCO3.Mg(OH)2.3H2O, landsfordite, 4MgO.3CO2.22H2O, and hydrogioberite, [(Mg.OH).CO3.2H2O].

Northupite is Na2CO3.MgCO3.NaCl.

Magnesium oxide, MgO, occurs as periclase and, hydrated, in brucite, Mg(OH)2. In conjunction with other oxides it occurs as magnoferrite, MgO.Fe2O3, and jacobsite, (Mn,Mg)O.(Fe,Mn)2O3.

Magnesium molybdate occurs as belonesite, MgMoO4.

Magnesium phosphate occurs as bobierrite, Mg3(PO4)2.8H2O, in wagnerite, Mg3(PO4)2.MgF2, in struvite, (NH4)MgPO4.6H2O, and in luneburgite, Mg3(PO4)2.B2O3.8H2O.

Among the arsenates are - hoernesite, Mg3(AsO4)2.8H2O, cabrerite, (Ni,Mg)3(AsO4)2.8H2O, adelite, Ca(MgOH)AsO4, and tilasite, Ca(MgF)AsO4.

The following silicates have been identified in meteorites - enstatite and clinoenstatite, MgSiO3, diopside, MgCa(SiO3)2, hedenbergite, (Mg,Fe)Ca(SiO3)2, forsterite, Mg2SiO4, chrysolite, (Mg,Fe)SiO4, and some augites. Magnesium also occurs as silicate in talc or steatite, H2Mg3(SiO3)4, meerschaum, H2Mg2(SiO3)3, olivine, (Mg,Fe)2SiO4, and serpentine, Mg3Si2O7.2H2O.

Phlogopite or magnesia mica is K2O.2H2O.6MgO.Al2O3.6SiO2, and asbestos, which is very important industrially, is CaMg3(SiO3)4.

Geikielite is MgTiO3, and among the borates are - pinnoite, MgO.B2O3.3H2O, boracite, 2Mg3B8O15.MgCl2, and kaliborite, KMg2B11O19.9H2O.

Magnesium occurs also in spinel, MgO.Al2O3, hydrotalcite, Mg3Al(OH)6.3H2O, and kornerupine, Mg(AlO)2SiO4.

History of Magnesium

In 1695 Nehemiah Grew, a London physician, published an account of a medicinal salt obtained from the well-known mineral spring at Epsom. "Epsom salts" soon became famous, and are still used in medicine. George and Francis Moult established a factory in 1700 to obtain the salt from a spring at Shooter's Hill, near London. It was soon afterwards discovered by Friedrich Hoffmann in Seidlitz mineral water, and crystallised by Hoy from the mother-liquors of sea-water. The history of magnesium thus began with its sulphate, MgSO4.7H2O.

"Magnesia alba" was discovered, and its medicinal value observed, early in the eighteenth century. Since pyrolusite was then called magnesia nigra, the new substance was apparently named to contrast with it. Valentini in 1707, and Slevogt in 1709, prepared it from saltpetre mother-liquors. Partly because these preparations contained calcium carbonate, magnesia and lime were constantly confused till Black, in 1755, clearly distinguished them. He showed that magnesia alba was a compound of " fixed air " with a peculiar earth, which had a soluble sulphate. When Davy, in 1808, showed that magnesia was the oxide of a metal, he named the metal magnium. Finally, the name magnesium was adopted for the metal in magnesia, and manganese for the metal in pyrolusite. The latter had been known both as magnesium and manganesium.

"Magnesia" is derived from "magnesian stone," an alchemistic designation of the loadstone, and a stone shining like silver, which may have been talc. A confusion of pyrolusite with the loadstone may have led to the terms magnesia alba and magnesia nigra.

The metal was first prepared in mass by Bussy in 1829. He decomposed magnesium chloride with potassium; electrolytic methods are now used in industry.

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