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Fun Metal Facts for Kids

Magnesium Facts, Properties and UsesMagnesium Facts

Enjoy these amazing magnesium facts. Magnesium is an alkaline metal that is strong yet light, making it useful in the manufacturing of automobiles, airplanes, and electronic devices.

Find out more about magnesium and its properties by checking out our interesting facts below.


  • The chemical element magnesium has the symbol Mg and atomic number 12.

  • Sir Humphry Davy was the first to isolate magnesium in England, in 1808, calling it 'magnium'. While Antoine Bussy first prepared magnesium in a consistent form in 1831.

  • Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal. While it is not present in a free pure form its compounds are found in large deposits as magnesite, dolomite and other minerals.

  • Magnesium is the 8th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and after iron, oxygen and silicon it is the 4th most common element in the Earth as a whole making up 13% of our planet's mass.

  • Elemental magnesium is a light, fairly strong, silvery-white metal that tarnishes slightly when exposed to air.

  • Magnesium has a melting point of 1,994 °F (1,090 °C) and a boiling point of 1,202 °F (650 °C).

  • When in a powdered or thinly shaved form magnesium is highly flammable, burning with a brilliant-white flame. The metal is more difficult to ignite as a large mass.

  • Once ignited, magnesium is extremely difficult to extinguish. Attempting to put out the fire using water produces hydrogen, which only intensifies it. Magnesium also burns in both pure nitrogen and pure carbon dioxide, so a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher will feed the flames too. The most effective way to stop it burning is by using a dry chemical fire extinguisher, or covering it with sand.

  • Magnesium's bright and quick lighting flame has made it useful in products such as flashlight photography, flares and pyrotechnics.

  • China produces around 80% of the worlds magnesium supply.

  • After iron and aluminium, magnesium is the 3rd most commonly used structural metal due to its lightness.

  • Magnesium can be compared with aluminium, but being a third lighter than aluminium makes it useful in alloys that are used in the construction of airplanes and missiles.

  • Automobile manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Porsche, BMW, Corvette, and Mitsubishi have all dabbled in using magnesium in engine components.

  • Because of its good mechanical and electrical properties and lightness, magnesium is useful in the manufacturing of electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops and cameras.

  • Specialty car wheels called 'mag wheels' got there name due to the use of magnesium in their construction. However, today mag wheels no longer include magnesium they are mainly made of aluminium.

  • Magnesium compounds, mainly magnesium oxide (MgO) are used in the manufacturing, agricultural, chemical, and construction industries.

  • Magnesium is the 11th most common element in the human body with around 60% found in the skeleton and 39% found in the muscle cells.

  • Magnesium rich foods include spices, nuts, cereals, coffee, cocoa, tea, and leafy green vegetables like spinach.


Magnesium rod

More Metal Facts:
Magnesium Facts





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