Magnesium Oxide and its industrial uses

Author Joanna Sikorska
Reading time 6 minut
Publication date 28 December 2022

What is Magnesium Oxide?

Magnesium Oxide, also known as burnt magnesia or simply magnesia, is an inorganic chemical compound. It belongs to the group of basic oxides. Magnesium Oxide occurs naturally as the mineral periclase. It is obtained by burning magnesium or by roasting magnesite (magnesium carbonate) or dolomite. When dolomite is roasted, calcium oxide is also formed.

Magnesium Oxide can also be produced by calcination (heating a chemical compound below its melting point to cause partial chemical decomposition) of magnesium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide. Magnesium hydroxide is obtained by treating magnesium chloride solutions, usually seawater, with lime. Calcination at different temperatures produces Magnesium Oxide with different reactivity. Want to know how to use Magnesium Oxide in industry? Read on!

What are the properties of Magnesium Oxide?

Magnesium Oxide is a white crystalline substance. It is poorly soluble in water, but readily soluble in acids. Magnesium Oxide has numerous properties that are useful in industry. First of all, it has good refractoriness – it retains its durability even when exposed to high temperatures. Magnesium Oxide is also corrosion resistant and has high thermal conductivity but low electrical conductivity, so it can transfer heat but not electricity. Magnesium Oxide is also characterized by rapid hydration to hydroxide, which is a weak base. After roasting, it is no longer reactive.

In addition, the properties of Magnesium Oxide can be used in medicine, as it has a constipating and laxative effect, depending on the dose.

Magnesium Oxide – industrial uses

Magnesium Oxide is widely used in industry. It is used in the manufacture of cement, bricks, castings, refractory vessels, and laboratory equipment. Plates made of Magnesium Oxide used in the construction industry, are fireproof, moisture and fungus resistant, and at the same time very durable.

Magnesium Oxide is used in medicine – it prevents hyperacidity and is used to treat food poisoning. It is also a component of dietary supplements for people with a deficiency of this element, one of the most important when it comes to the proper functioning of the human body.

Magnesium Oxide can be found in cosmetics as it is added to powders, foundations or lotions. Its odor-neutralizing properties are used in antiperspirants. Magnesium Oxide is also used by athletes as it prevents their hands from slipping off during climbing or weight training. In photography, it is used to neutralize photographic emulsion.

Magnesium Oxide is also found in the heating industry in the manufacture of oil heaters, heating and non-combustible wires or storage heaters. Burnt magnesia is also used in the production of household appliances, such as washing machines.

A very important use of Magnesium Oxide is its use in animal feed. It is a nutrient in the diet of farm animals, especially cattle and sheep.

Magnesium Oxide in animal feed

Magnesium Oxide in animal feed

As mentioned above, Magnesium Oxide is one of the components of animal feed. It is added to animal feed as an important supplement and must be essentially free of lead and heavy metal contamination.

Lack or deficiency of Magnesium Oxide can lead to grass tetany and similar ailments. It is also used to reduce stress in animals. Stressed animals can cause herd fights, they have no appetite, are lethargic, grow slower, and are more susceptible to disease and infection. Therefore, it is important to respond as soon as possible and provide them with Magnesium Oxide.

Benefits of Magnesium Oxide

It is worth mentioning that Magnesium Oxide is one of the many dietary supplements with magnesium available on the market. Since it is essential for human health, it should be supplemented in case of deficiency. Here are the main benefits of Magnesium Oxide:

  • it supports proper muscle function,
  • improves nervous system function, reduces headaches and eyelid twitching,
  • reduces feelings of fatigue and exhaustion, stress and anxiety,
  • increases cognitive abilities (memory, concentration, learning),
  • helps lower elevated blood pressure levels,
  • can lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Magnesium Oxide is vital for both humans and animals, and is safe in the right dose. As already proved, it is not only a very important component of food supplements, but also finds application in other areas.

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