What is magnesium?
The history of the discovery and fields of application
The history of the discovery of one element
Magnesium compounds were discovered in the distant year of 1625 in England, in the town of Epsom. Scientists obtained a salt from a mineral spring which had a laxative effect and a bitter and unpleasant taste. For this reason, chemists at the time called it bitter salt. The element also became known as English or Epsom salt. Its present name of magnesium is of Latin origin, from the name of the ancient town of Magnesia in Asia Minor.
The obscure chemist Anton von Ruprecht conducted experiments to obtain the new metal in the late 18th century. The result obtained in the experiment, austrium of white magnesia, was magnesium of a very low degree of purity, for the problem was that the starting material contained a large amount of iron.
In the late 19th century, Humphrey Davy synthesized an amalgam of an unknown metal using electrolysis on a mixture of magnesia and mercury oxide, which he called “magnesium”. In Russia this metal has been known as “magny” since 1831.
Other chemists found a more convenient way to obtain this substance. For example, Antoine Bussy from France obtained magnesium using magnesium chloride and potassium. Then the renowned physicist and chemist Michael Faraday worked on obtaining magnesium through the electrolysis of liquid magnesium chloride.
Where magnesium is found in nature
A large amount of Mg is found in mineral deposits, in sea water and natural brines. 1 cubic meter of water contains 4 kilograms of magnesium.
It is present in almost 200 natural minerals, but as the main element in only three, which are:
A large percentage of this element is mined in the USA, 43% of the world’s total in all. In Russia, the Middle Urals and the Orenburg Oblast are renowned for their large sources of magnesite, carnallite is mined in Solikamsk, and dolomite deposits are found in the Moscow and Leningrad Oblasts.
Fields of application of magnesium
This element is extensively used in our lives. Let’s see how and where magnesium is used.
Alloys of this element are used in automobile and aviation in industry, as it has two essential functions: lightness and durability.
Magnesium is used in the manufacture of electronic batteries, as this element has a high discharge voltage. Magnesium oxide is used for manufacturing metallurgical ovens. Magnesium is used for optical purposes. Bullets and shells, as well as rockets, are manufactured with the addition of magnesium. Magnesium is present in domestic appliances: laptop computers, cameras etc. Research other properties of magnesium by conducting interesting experiments.
Magneisum and the human body
The human body contains a lot of magnesium. This element takes part in over 300 biological processes, and accordingly it provides assistance in maintaining the health of the body. Nowadays, we can see a deficiency in human consumption of magnesium. Why is this? In many ways, the explanation lies in incorrect nutrition and an unhealthy lifestyle. Scientists were interested to discover how low consumption of this element had fallen. And they concluded: the daily dose in 2007, which came to 500 mg, had dropped by almost half. A simple test can help us to find the magnesium content in the body.
A magnesium deficiency is dangerous and can lead to many diseases, so we shouldn’t ignore this issue. A deficiency can cause the following problems:
stress and insomnia;
a state of fatigue, lack of attention and reduced work ability;
accelerated heart beat and headaches.
There are also other consequences from a low consumption of magnesium. To correct this, we must often take biologically active additives (on the doctor’s prescription). And we can also simply eat particular foods, adding them to our diet.
Products with a high magnesium content:
nuts of several kinds and pumpkin seeds;
cocoa, oats, bran;
rice and buckwheat;