Difference Between Manganese and Magnesium

Key Difference – Manganese vs. Magnesium

Magnesium (Mg) and Manganese (Mn) have similar sounding names; they are both metallic elements in the periodic table and they are both essential nutrients needed by the human body. The key difference between Manganese and Magnesium is that the Manganese (Mn) is a transition metal in the d-block of the periodic table, whereas Magnesium (Mg) is an alkaline earth metal in s-block. Both Magnesium and Manganese have similar uses as well, but their function and properties are different. For example, both are used in alloys, but their properties and applications are not similar. They are both required for the human body, but they have different roles.

What is Manganese?

Manganese is a d-block element, and it is a member of transition metals. It is a steel grayish, hard, denser and brittle metallic element that is difficult to cut, shape or bend in its pure form. Manganese is not available in pure form in nature; it always combines with oxygen or with other elements. The most common examples of Manganese ores are; pyrolusite, manganite, psilomelane, and rhodochrosite. In addition, it can be found in iron ores. Manganese is relatively active metal, and it shows several oxidation states;   +7, +6, +4, +3, +2, 0, -1.

Difference Between Manganese and Magnesium

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a silvery-white, very light metallic element in group II of the periodic table. Its crystal structure is hexagonal. Magnesium is a relatively soft metal, but it is strong. Therefore, alloys containing Magnesium are relatively soft and strong.  It is very reactive; reacts with almost all acids and most of the non-metals. But its reactivity with organic substances is very low. Magnesium does not show multiple oxidation states; its oxidation number is +2.

Key Difference - Manganese vs Magnesium

What is the difference between Manganese and Magnesium?

Properties of Manganese and magnesium:

  Property     Manganese     Magnesium
  Symbol       Mn   Mg
  State   Solid   Solid
  Atomic Number   25   12
  Group   Transition metals    Alkaline Earth Metal
  Melting Point   1246°C (22750F)   650°C (1202°F)
  Boiling Point   2061°C (3742°F)   1090°C (1994°F)
  Density   7.3g.cm-3   1.74 g.cm-3 at 20 °C


Manganese: Manganese is one of the denser elements which occurs in nature as a free trace element. Mostly, it is also found combined with iron.

Magnesium: Magnesium is also an abundant element on earth, next to iron, silicon, and oxygen. Magnesium is not originally found on the Earth, it is created in the process of dying of a star, which is called a supernova. In this process, it explodes out to the universe and returns these elements into other planets.


Manganese: Manganese mostly combines with steel is used as an industrial alloy. This product is the less expensive category of stainless steel. Manganese is added more strength and fewer corrosion properties to alloys. In addition, it is used with aluminum providing corrosion resistance properties.

Magnesium: Magnesium gives lightness and strength to its alloys. It is also used with aluminum, having corrosion resistance properties.

Effect of Deficiency on Human Health:

Manganese: If our body doesn’t get the required quantity of Manganese, it may cause muscle weakness, seizures of infertility. In some cases, it may result in diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Manganese deficiency in women may have severe premenstrual syndrome symptoms, such as abdominal cramps or mood swings.

Magnesium: Health problems related to lack of manganese intake are trouble sleeping, heart arrhythmia, vomiting, muscles pains, and nausea. This can be avoided by increasing magnesium intake. It helps to lower the risk of heart failure, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure.


Image Courtesy:

1. Electron shell 025 Manganese – no label By commons: User: Pumbaa (original work by commons:User:Greg Robson) [CC BY-SA 2.0 uk], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Electron shell 012 Magnesium – no label By commons: User: Pumbaa (original work by commons:User:Greg Robson) [CC BY-SA 2.0 uk], via Wikimedia Commons