The key difference between zinc and magnesium is that zinc is a post-transition metal, whereas magnesium is an alkaline earth metal.
Zinc and magnesium are chemical elements of the periodic table. These chemical elements occur mainly as metals. However, they have different chemical and physical properties due to different electron configurations.
What is Zinc?
Zinc is a chemical element having the atomic number 30 and the chemical symbol Zn. This chemical element resembles magnesium when we consider its chemical properties. This is mainly because both these elements show a +2 oxidation state as the stable oxidation state, and Mg+2 and Zn+2 cations are of similar size. Moreover, this is the 24th most abundant chemical element on the earth’s crust.
The standard atomic weight of zinc is 65.38, and it appears as a silver-grey solid. It is in group 12 and period 4 of the periodic table. This chemical element belongs to the d block of elements, and it comes under the post-transition metal category. Moreover, zinc is a solid at standard temperature and pressure. It has a crystal structure hexagonal close-packed structure.
Zinc metal is a diamagnetic metal and has a bluish-white lustrous appearance. At most temperatures, this metal is hard and brittle. However, it becomes malleable, between 100 and 150 °C. Furthermore, this is a fair conductor of electricity. However, it has low melting and boiling points when compared to most other metals.
When considering the occurrence of this metal, the earth’s crust has about 0.0075% of zinc. We can find this element in soil, seawater, copper, and lead ores, etc. In addition, this element is most likely to be found in combination with sulfur.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is the chemical element having the atomic number 12 and the chemical symbol Mg. This chemical element occurs as a grey-shiny solid at room temperature. It is in group 2, period 3, in the periodic table. Therefore, we can name it as an s-block element. Furthermore, magnesium is an alkaline earth metal (group 2 chemical elements are named alkaline earth metals). The electron configuration of this metal is [Ne]3s2.
Magnesium metal is an abundant chemical element in the universe. Naturally, this metal occurs in combination with other chemical elements. Besides, the oxidation state of magnesium is +2. The free metal is highly reactive, but we can produce it as a synthetic material. It can burn, producing very bright light. We call it a brilliant white light. We can obtain magnesium by electrolysis of magnesium salts. These magnesium salts can be obtained from brine.
Magnesium is a lightweight metal, and it has the lowest values for melting and boiling points among alkaline earth metals. This metal is also brittle and easily undergoes fracture along with shear bands. When it is alloyed with aluminium, the alloy becomes very ductile.
The reaction between magnesium and water is not as rapid as calcium and other alkaline earth metals. When we submerge a piece of magnesium in water, we can observe hydrogen bubbles emerge from the metal surface. However, the reaction speeds up with hot water. Moreover, this metal can react with acids exothermally, e.g., hydrochloric acid (HCl).
What is the Difference Between Zinc and Magnesium?
Zinc and magnesium are chemical elements of the periodic table. Zinc is a chemical element having the atomic number 30 and the chemical symbol Zn, while magnesium is the chemical element having atomic number 12 and chemical symbol Mg. The key difference between zinc and magnesium is that zinc is a post-transition metal, whereas magnesium is an alkaline earth metal. Moreover, zinc is used in the production of alloys, galvanizing, automobile parts, electrical components, etc., while magnesium is used as a part of aluminum alloys. This includes alloys used in aluminum beverage cans. Magnesium, alloyed with zinc, is used in die casting.
The following table summarizes the difference between zinc and magnesium.
Summary – Zinc vs Magnesium
Zinc and magnesium are chemical elements of the periodic table. The key difference between zinc and magnesium is that zinc is a post-transition metal, whereas magnesium is an alkaline earth metal.
1. “Uses of Zinc.” Geology.