Magnesium takes a big part of nowadays metallurgy, engineering and modern technologies. It is used mainly magnesium alloys for world industry - for pressure die casting, structural applications, numerous lightweight applications (automotive, hand tools, computers, etc.), and where the metal's damping capacity is of importance. It has and a little uses for uranium and nuclear applications. When we put together - aluminum and magnesium we can see that Mg is largely used as an alloying element than Al. But aluminum-magnesium alloys have improved ductility, enhanced resistance to saltwater corrosion, and improved cryogenic properties.
Interesting uses is in the iron and steel industry, magnesium is used for desulfurization and nodularization. Particulate magnesium, alone or blended with other ingredients is injected into crude iron melts. The typical magnesium consumption for desulfurization of low-iron steel is 0.5 kg per ton of steel. Magnesium also triggers the transformation of laminar carbon to globules in nodular iron. For this purpose, the metal is either added with ferrosilicon as an alloying element or directly in the form of lumps, impregnated coke, or granules. Magnesium has a modifying effect on nonmetallic inclusions in steel. Effect and user forms are currently being studied.
One interesting uses of the metal is magnesium powders which were importance during World War II. Then large quantities were used for pyrotechnics and explosives. Almost all powder is produced from pure magnesium, although some magnesium-aluminum alloy powder containing up to 50% aluminum is used for photoflash bombs and for desulfurizing hot metal. Magnesium powders are being used to (a) manufacture Grignard reagents as ethyl magnesium chloride (C2H5MgCl) used in organic syntheses to produce pharmaceuticals, perfumes, and other fine chemicals; (b) effect chemical reductions, as in the manufacture of beryllium and uranium; (c) act as a light source in flares and photoflash bombs; (d) modify metallurgical properties of other metals, such as in the production of ductile iron and the removal of sulfur from hot iron products of blast furnaces; and (e) function as additives in electric welding electrode flux.
Other interesting uses of magnesium you can read below:
- For corrosion abatement as sacrificial soil and hot-water tank anodes because of electronegative character of magnesium.
- For military purposes and rescue systems - magnesium batteries whit light weight and high energy content.
- For modern automotive, aerospace, and defense industries.
- Also for aircraft, car engine casings and missile construction.
- For needs of computer industry, for radio-frequency shielding.
- Uses in medicine and health way of life you can see in our 'magnesium in health' section at this site.
Magnesium is so many used because of its unique physical and mechanical properties. Today the metal is used in a diverse range of markets and applications. The element and its alloys take a big part of modern industry needs. Especially nowadays magnesium alloys are used in automotive and mechanical (trains and wagons) manufacture, because of its lightness and other features. Machining magnesium is normally limited by the speed and power of the machine rather than the tool. It can be performed up to ten times faster than steel and twice as fast as aluminum. Machining magnesium carbide tools are generally preferred than many others. It is normally machined dry. Magnesium components are almost impossible to ignite through the machining process, as magnesium must be heated to its melting point before it will burn. Actually magnesium wasn't intensity used in commercial vehicles till 1936. Consumption then declined but over the past 10 years, there has been significant growth of magnesium in the high pressure die casting sector, averaging almost 20% per annum worldwide and it's the use of magnesium as a strategic lightweight material in the machine industry. By technological advances in alloy performance was minimize electricity consumption and other expenditures 20 years ago. In such a system, the traction motors can be fed through a transformer with multiple taps. Changing the taps allows the motor voltage to be changed without requiring power-wasting resistors. To prevent the risk of out of phase supplies mixing, sections of line fed from different feeder station must be kept strictly isolated. This is achieved by Neutral Sections (also known as Phase Breaks), usually provided at and midway between feeder stations, although typically only half are in use at any time, the others being provided to allow a feeder station to be shut down and power provided from adjacent feeder stations. Neutral Sections usually consist of an earthed section of wire which is separated from the live wires on either side by insulating material, typically ceramic beads, designed so the pantograph will smoothly run from one section to the other. In the UK, a system known as Automatic Power Control (APC) is in use which automatically opens and closes the circuit breaker.
We have to say few words about new technology called T-Mag - produces high-integrity magnesium alloy castings from permanent moulds, free of porosity and other defects. We use that technology to make lightweight magnesium-alloy engine blocks which are two-thirds the weight of current aluminum alloy blocks and less than one third the weight of cast iron blocks. Aluminum and iron were used widely in Europe manufacture till past 10 years. Other modern use of magnesium is wheels. New magnesium alloy wheels are lighter and more practical than aluminum wheels.
While magnesium sheet is considered a growth product for the 21st century - with its light-weight and high-strength qualities - the uptake of magnesium sheet has been hindered by expensive and difficult conventional production processes. Magnesium sheet has a variety of applications where light weight and quality finish is at a premium like automotive industry and personal electronics (cameras, MD players). For example the new construction materials based on magnesium granular alloys which, when applied instead of D16T aluminum alloy (Russian standard) are used for making frame components, not only provides for a reduction of weight characteristics, but also allows to achieve high technical, social, and economic effects.
The latest method to process magnesium alloy is Thixomolding. It is based on material flow in a semi solid state to achieve thin wall, high density, and complex shaped components. The material is kept at room temperature and is heated in a controlled environment before injection into a mold. Thixomolded components can be found in the automotive, electronics. power tool, computer and recreational industries. Parts include television housings, PDA covers, eyeglass frames, steering wheels and hand drill components.
However magnesium is still an expensive metal. But magnesium market becomes bigger and bigger.