There are some elements that are so abundant that they can be obtained from seawater, as well as the Earth’s crust. One of them is magnesium, a favored next-generation battery ingredient. Let’s dig into it and find out its characteristics and uses today!
About 400 years ago, people found bitter-tasting water from a spring in Epsom, Surrey, England. It was because the water contained magnesium sulfate. And as such, magnesium was introduced to the world. Later, British chemist Sir Humphry Davy first isolated the metal through electrolysis.
Magnesium is a silvery white metal at room temperature with the symbol Mg and atomic number 12. With its density of 1.738 g/cm³, it is softer than aluminum. The 8th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust is found in minerals such as magnesite and dolomite in nature. In seawater, it is found in the form of magnesium ions and is the third most common element after chloride and sodium ions.
In the industrial sector, magnesium is the third most used metal after iron and aluminum. Magnesium’s low density and high responsiveness make it a good alloying agent. In particular, magnesium-aluminum alloys are lightweight and preferred in the aerospace industry (for building air and spacecraft).
In addition, it is also essential for human health, contributing to controlling energy metabolism, body temperature, and muscle contraction as well as keeping bones and teeth strong. Recently, magnesium has emerged as a potential replacement for lithium in the battery industry. Not only does it have similar chemical properties with lithium, but it also has the metal’s advantages over lithium: It shares similar properties but exists in large quantities, and it is easy to recycle. If magnesium batteries become commercialized rechargeable batteries, the efficiency of battery production will rise further.