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Wikipedia article: Magnesium
· Magnesium is the fourth most common element in the Earth as a whole (behind iron, oxygen and silicon), making up 13% of the planet's mass and a large fraction of planet's mantle.
· The relative abundance of magnesium is related to the fact that it is easily built up in supernova stars from a sequential addition of three helium nuclei to carbon (which in turn is made from three helium nuclei).
· Since magnesium is less dense than aluminium, these alloys are prized for their relative lightness and strength.
· It tarnishes slightly when exposed to air, although unlike the alkali metals, storage in an oxygen-free environment is unnecessary because magnesium is protected by a thin layer of oxide that is fairly impermeable and difficult to remove.
· Like its lower periodic table group neighbor calcium, magnesium reacts with water at room temperature, though it reacts much more slowly than calcium.
· Once ignited, it is difficult to extinguish, being able to burn in nitrogen (forming magnesium nitride), carbon dioxide (forming magnesium oxide and carbon) and water (forming magnesium oxide and hydrogen).
· Magnesium compounds are typically white crystals.
· Small amounts of dissolved magnesium ion contribute to the tartness and taste of natural waters.
· Magnesium ion in large amounts is an ionic laxative, and magnesium sulfate (common name: Epsom salt) is sometimes used for this purpose.
· So-called "milk of magnesia" is a water suspension of one of the few insoluble magnesium compounds, magnesium hydroxide.
· Magnesium hydroxide (brucite) is insoluble in water so it can be filtered out, and reacted with hydrochloric acid to obtain concentrated magnesium chloride.
· The main applications of magnesium are, in order: component of aluminium alloys, in die-casting (alloyed with zinc), to remove sulfur in the production of iron and steel, the production of titanium in the Kroll process.
· Specialty, high-grade car wheels of magnesium alloy are called "mag wheels", although the term is often more broadly misapplied to include aluminum wheels.
· Historically, magnesium was one of the main aerospace construction metals and was used for German military aircraft as early as World War I and extensively for German aircraft in World War II.
· Niche and illustrative uses of magnesium compounds Magnesium sulfate, as the heptahydrate called Epsom salts, is used as bath salts, as a laxative, and as a highly soluble fertilizer.
· Magnesium deficiency in plants causes late-season yellowing between leaf veins, especially in older leaves, and can be corrected by applying Epsom salts (which is rapidly leached), or else crushed dolomitic limestone to the soil.
· Serum magnesium levels may appear normal even in cases of underlying intracellular deficiency, although no known mechanism maintains a homeostatic level in the blood other than renal excretion of high blood levels.
· Magnesium is capable of reducing water to the highly flammable hydrogen gas: As a result, water cannot be used to extinguish magnesium fires; the hydrogen gas produced will only intensify the fire.
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