Magnesium is the lightest of the structural metals, a quarter the weight of steel and a third lighter than aluminum. Occurring naturally in the form of various compounds, the principal ores of magnesium are dolomite, magnesite and carnallite. Magnesium also exists in nature as the chloride in seawater,underwater brines and salt deposits.
This element was first isolated in 1808 by the English scientist Davy, but it was not until 1852 that Bunsen demonstrated that magnesium metal could be isolated by electrolysis of fused anhydrous magnesium chloride, magnesium being released at the cathode and chlorine at the anode of the cell.
Today, magnesium is used in a diverse range of markets and applications, each one exploiting the unique physical and mechanical properties of the element and its alloys. World production of magnesium totals around 400,000 tones per annum and the figure is increasing annually as the lightweight properties of magnesium alloys are used increasingly in the following industry:
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