Magnesium vs Magnesium Oxide
Magnesium and magnesium oxide are found naturally on earth and magnesium oxide is a compound of magnesium. Magnesium is a naturally occurring element and is eighth most abundantly found element on earth’ crust. It is represented by the symbol Mg and has an atomic number of 12. As magnesium ion is highly soluble in water, it is third most abundantly found element in seawater. In human bodies, it is found in abundance, and by mass it accounts for 2.2% of body mass. Magnesium ions are vital for all living things as they play an important role in synthesis and working of DNA, RNA and lots of enzymes. In plants, MG ion is at the centre of chlorophyll, making it an important constituent in most of the fertilizers. It is also used in many medicines in the form of magnesium milk. Magnesium compounds are used commonly in medicines such as laxatives and antacids.
Though found naturally on earth, magnesium is a highly reactive substance and is normally found in the form of its compounds. When magnesium is extracted from these compounds (mainly oxides) it burns with a brilliant white light which is why it is made use of in flares. Magnesium is normally obtained through electrolysis of its salts. The main use of magnesium metal comes in alloying, and the alloys made by mixing it with aluminum, known as aluminum magnesium alloys or magnalium are frequently used in industries for being light and strong.
Magnesium is a very strong and light metal. It is normally found as its oxide where magnesium is covered by a thin layer of its oxide which is impermeable and hard to remove. Magnesium reacts with water at normal room temperature, and hydrogen bubbles can be seen forming when it comes in contact with water. Magnesium also reacts with most of the acids and when it reacts with HCl, magnesium chloride is formed and hydrogen gas is released.
Magnesium is inflammable when it is in powdered form, but it is difficult to burn it when it is in sizeable mass. But once it gets ignited, it becomes difficult to extinguish the flames, which is why magnesium was used as weapon in WW II. Magnesium burns with a bright white light which is why it is used in the manufacture of fireworks.
Magnesium is also used as a construction material, and third most commonly used element after iron and aluminum. It is referred to as being the lightest useful metal. Many alloys of magnesium and aluminum are made because of excellent physical properties of magnesium. Alloy wheels of cars are made of an alloy of magnesium and are called mag wheels. Magnesium is widely used in electrical and electronic devices because of its electrical properties and various electronic components are made of magnesium and used in devices such as mobile phones, computers, cameras and other electronic gadgets.
Magnesium oxide is a compound of magnesium and is found naturally as a white solid. It is also called magnesia and is represented as MgO. It is formed when metal magnesium reacts with oxygen. It is highly hygroscopic and so it should be protected from moisture. When it comes in contact with water, it readily forms an hydroxide of magnesium called magnesium hydroxide. However, it is possible to convert it back to MgO by heating.
Magnesium oxide is a compound having totally different properties than magnesium and is highly refractive. This property makes refractive industry to use it in high percentage, but it also finds uses in agriculture, construction, chemical and industrial applications. Magnesium oxide is widely used all over the world for making Portland cement. It is used in powdered from for preservation of books in libraries as it is moisture absorbent saving the books from moisture.
MgO is used in medical world as a medicine for heartburn and acidity. Many antacids and laxatives are made using MgO. It is also prescribed by doctors for the treatment of indigestion.
MgO also finds use in optic industry as well as making insulated cables.