Magnesium is the twelfth element on the periodic table. It is located in the second
group called the alkaline earth metals. Natural magnesium contains three different isotopes,
and there are twelve others that are recognized. Seawater is a rich source of magnesium in
the form of salt. Magnesium is the eighth most abundant element in the earth's crust.
Magnesium readily ignites upon heating in air and burns with a dazzling white flame. To
extinguish the flame water should not be used. Alkaline earth metal salts in general, are less
soluble in water than the corresponding alkali metal salts. Some are even so insoluble that
they resist weathering and leaching action in rainwater. Alkaline earth metals are extracted
from the mineral ores like they have been for many decades. This second group of metals is
also less reactive than the alkali metals. They do not need to have a specific storage
procedure like that of the corresponding elements. These alkaline metals react with acids,
and in certain temperatures of water. They are also harder than their alkali friends. In
general, they have a gray-white luster that tarnishes quickly in the air to form a tough, thin
oxide coating. The coating protects the metal, particularly magnesium, from further
oxidation. This allows alloys of these metals to be used as low-density structural materials.
Magnesium is one of the two most important alkaline earth metals. It is found in
seawater. Today, though it is chiefly produced by electrolysis of fused magnesium chloride.
It has many uses. Magnesium is an important material that is a chief component in a
number of high-tensile-strength, low-density alloys. These properties allow the alloy to be
very valuable in air and spacecraft construction. Also, the alloyed metal is used to make a
large variety of other products, such as, artificial limbs, vacuum cleaners, optical
instruments, recreational skis, wheelbarrows, lawn mowers, and outdoor furniture.
Magnesium is also found in asbestos. Asbestos was used in insulating materials up until it
was found to cause cancer and other types of lung diseases. The unalloyed metal of
magnesium is used in photographic flashlight powders, incendiary bombs, and signal flares.
This special element also has many important roles in the body. The most vital need for it is
on the cellular level. It is as important as calcium, and is found in bones, blood and soft
tissues. Magnesium is essential for strong healthy bones and teeth. In the environment,
magnesium reduces carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitric acid, and
nitrous oxide. All of which are relatively harmful to the body or the environment.
First discussing the alloyed metal, one can see its many uses on an everyday basis.
Look in the sky, do you see any type of aircraft? It was made from the alloyed metal of
magnesium. There are advantages to using magnesium for die castings. It is better than
most metals in many circumstances. Molten magnesium is poured into a cast then solidifies
into its mold.. It can make reasonably intricate parts made cheaper than machine parts
because it occurs abundantly in nature, in the form of a light malleable, ductile metal.
In the body, magnesium is essential for many activities in the body including calcium
utilization, cardiac function, energy production, many enzyme reactions, relaxation of
muscles and restful sleep. In general, our bodies have been greatly depleted of magnesium
for decades, and the foods we eat do not contain, as they did in the past, as much
magnesium as may be needed. Fatty foods and alcohol actually inhibit magnesium
absorption, and nearly forty percent of the magnesium in the foods we eat is lost during
cooking. Consequently, many people have a greater need for magnesium supplements than
for any other nutrient. In every muscle , calcium and magnesium have a reciprocal
relationship. Calcium stimulates the muscles to contract while magnesium allows them to
relax. When our bodies are deficient in calcium, we can borrow from the vast reserves in
our bones. But, when the body gets low in magnesium, we must obtain it from our muscles.
As magnesium disappears from the muscles, calcium rushes in and the muscles tend to
become tense or cramp. Many researches now believe that magnesium deficiency is also
related to constriction and hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure. They have
found that heart attack victims have low levels of magnesium in their blood and heart
muscles. Magnesium is necessary for the metabolism of calcium, sodium, phosphorous, and
potassium. Magnesium assists with the production of cellar energy, regulation of calcium,
manufacturing of