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Sergey Venezky



The problem of the alchemists. - The truth is in the water. - There were no fireworks. - In the flame of a match. - In the lower layers of the mantle. - "Mountain leather". - Which method is better? - Neptune can sleep peacefully. - Each contributes his share. - In a hot minute. - At the metallurgical field. - In the struggle with my temper. - What happens under water? - The suit is ready. - "Quietly, shoot!" - There are cases povazhny. - In the eggshell. - Eat bananas. - Danger of heart attack. - A son or daughter? - Not only in medicine. - Don't have to wait. - A century later. - Like the violin. - Best role ahead. - "Business trip" to the moon.

One of the main problems that puzzled "scientists" medieval alchemical laboratories have been searching the notorious "philosopher's stone". They hoped to find the secret of obtaining gold from base metals.

The search was carried out in different directions. Some suggested to use for this purpose the lead, which was required to be heated to obtain the "red lion" (i.e. before fusion), and then boiled in sour grape alcohol. Others considered that the most suitable raw material for the production of "philosopher's stone" is the urine of animals. Still others argued that the truth is in the water.

At the end of the eighteenth century one of the English alchemists, apparently, a supporter of the third direction, viparita the water drained from the land near the town of Epsom, received instead of the "philosophical stone" Sol, with a bitter taste and laxative effect. A few years later it was found that when interacting with a constant alkali (in those days called the soda and potash) this salt forms white light loose powder. The same powder was obtained by calcination of limestone found in the vicinity of the ancient Greek city of magnesia. For this similarity apamsa salt was called the white chalk.

In 1808, an English scientist Humphry Davy, analyzing white magnesia, got a new element, which he called magnesium. Celebrations on the occasion of the opening of the new element was not accompanied by fireworks, because in those days was not yet known that the newborn has excellent pyrotechnic properties.

Magnesium is a very light silvery-white metal. He is almost five times lighter than copper or iron; even the "winged" aluminum one and a half times heavier than magnesium. The melting point of magnesium is relatively low - just 650°C, but under normal conditions to melt the magnesium difficult: heated in air up to 560°C, it flares up and burns instantly dazzling bright flame (this property of magnesium is widely used in pyrotechnics). To burn the metal, enough to bring him a lighted match, and in an atmosphere of chlorine it lights up even at room temperature. When burning magnesium produces a large quantity of ultraviolet rays and heat: a few grams of this "fuel" would be enough to boil a glass of ice water. This property of magnesium was originally used by scientists from the Warsaw Institute of industrial chemistry: they proposed the construction of cans with a heater, which is the magnesium ribbon: as soon as the Bank opens, tape lights up and after two or three minutes hot dish you can bring to the table.

Air magnesium quickly fades, as covered with an oxide film. This film serves as a firm shell that protects the metal from further oxidation.

Magnesium is very aggressive: he easily takes the oxygen and chlorine in most elements. Being resistant to some acids, soda ash, caustic alkalis, gasoline, kerosene, mineral oil, magnesium powerless against sea water and forced to dissolve it. He almost does not react with cold water, but actively displaces hydrogen from hot.

The crust is rich in magnesium: only seven of his "colleagues" on the periodic table are found in nature in large quantities. Scientists believe that a particularly high content of this element in the lower layers of the earth's mantle. Magnesium is part of almost two hundred minerals. Among them are not normal: it is easy to fold, like a handkerchief in it, you can wrap anything in the paper, finally, it is easy to break the fingers to shreds.

A unique sample of such mineral was found in 1953 in the far East When sinking shafts in the field of polymetallic ores workers found a small cave and it is hanging from the ceiling grayish-white "curtain", as if folded in half. To the touch this "curtain"that had a meter and a half long and about one meter in width, resembled suede - was as soft and elastic. Amazed and extraordinary lightness "fabric". An interesting discovery was sent to Moscow. Chemical analysis showed that it consists mainly of silicate of magnesium and is a palygorskite - group mineral asbestos, first discovered in the 20-ies of our century in Palygorskite Deposit in the Urals academician A.E. Fersman. For the unusual properties of the mineral is often called the "mountain leather". Far Eastern pattern, which is stored in the Mineralogical Museum of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, notable for the fact that "mountain leather" such big sizes found for the first time in the world.

The greatest industrial importance as a magnesium raw materials have magnesite, dolomite carnallite.

There are two ways to produce magnesium - thermal and electrolytic. In the first case, the metal is obtained directly from the oxide acting on it reducing agent is carbon, aluminum, etc. This method is quite simple in its idea and recently finds wide application. However, so far the main industrial method of obtaining magnesium is electrolytic, representing the electrolysis of molten magnesium salts, mainly chloride. This way you can get a very pure metal, containing less than 0.01 % of impurities.

Not only the crust is rich in magnesium is practically inexhaustible and ever-growing inventory of his store blue pantries oceans and seas. Suffice it to say that in 1 cubic meter of sea water contains about 4 pounds of magnesium. All in all waters of the oceans and seas dissolved more than 6·1016 tons of this element. Even far from mathematics people probably can imagine how Grand this value. However, for greater clarity, we give the following example: from the beginning of our chronology mankind lived just over 60 billion (6*1010) seconds. If from the first days of our era, people began to extract magnesium from seawater, in order to really time to exhaust all the water reserves of this element, you would have every second to extract one million tons of magnesium!

But Neptune can be sure of their wealth, even during the second world war, when the magnesium production was considerable, from sea water has received a total of 80 thousand tons of magnesium per year (not per second!). Extraction technology it is fairly simple. Sea water is mixed in huge tanks with milk of lime prepared from crushed sea shells. The result is a so-called milk of magnesia, which then turns into magnesium chloride. Further, the magnesium is separated from the chlorine by electrolysis. Today in different countries, mainly in those that do not have a solid magnesium reserves of raw materials, operate factories for the extraction of magnesium from seawater. Along these coastal enterprises get a table and Glauber's salt, chlorine, drinking water and brine for the production of caustic soda.

Source of magnesium may be water salt lakes containing magnesium chloride (so-called brine). In our country these "warehouses" magnesium is in Crimea (Saki and Sasyk-Hiwassee lake), in the Volga region (lake Elton) and other areas. Rich reserves of magnesium raw materials are stored in the Gulf of Kara-Bogaz-Gol, in brine which contains up to 30 % of salts of this element.

So, you already know that is a magnesium and its prey. Well, for what purpose is this element and its compounds?

The could easily make this beautiful metal structural material. But, alas, pure magnesium is soft and fragile. Therefore, designers are forced to use alloys of magnesium with other metals. Especially widely used alloys of magnesium with aluminum, zinc and manganese. Each of the components of this Commonwealth contributes his share to the General properties: aluminium and zinc increase the strength of the alloy, manganese increases its corrosion-resistant properties. Oh, and magnesium? Magnesium gives the alloy ease - parts of magnesium alloy by 20-30% lighter than aluminum and 50 to 75 % lighter than cast iron and steel. Recently, several countries developed incredibly light structural alloys of magnesium with lithium, for which, of course, there will always be an interesting job.

Ease of magnesium alloy could not fail to attract the attention of aircraft. In 1934, the USSR was built almost entirely and magnesium alloys plane "Sergo Ordzhonikidze". Successfully passing the test, the aircraft is then in a few years it was in operation. The experience came in handy during the great Patriotic war, when magnesium alloys produced wheels, body devices and other aerospace components.

Good reasons include magnesium and service in rocket technology: due to the high heat capacity of magnesium alloy made of him exterior elements of the spacecraft in a hot minute heat up significantly less than, for example, steel.

Automotive, textile, printing, electronic, optical devices production - where not only apply today, light magnesium alloys! The important role played by this element and in metallurgy. It is used as a reducing agent in the production of a number of metals (vanadium, chromium, titanium, zirconium). Magnesium helps desoxidation of steel and alloys reduces the concentration of oxygen that may be harmful to the metal.

Introduced in the molten pig iron, magnesium modifies it, i.e. it improves the structure and improves many mechanical properties. Casting from the modified cast iron with success replace steel forgings. But magnesium is very reluctant to come in contact with the melt: because of its lightness he did not wish to be immersed in the liquid metal, and, remaining on the surface, bright flashes and splashes iron from the ladle. It is quite clear that the fireworks were not satisfied with metallurgists. The yield was found: from a mixture of magnesium, foamed plastics and other components, it was decided to produce briquettes from inside their steel rod, which plays the role of the sinkers. This briquette is obediently "dive" into molten cast iron. Supplements, enveloping magnesium, quietly burn without giving up short-tempered metal. Steel rod quickly melts and dissolves in the melt, and the remaining alone magnesium nothing left to do, how to proceed to inoculation.

The chemical activity of magnesium gave designers of hydraulic structures on an interesting idea: immersing the magnesium sheet in the water and connecting a conductor with an underwater metal design, you can create a galvanic element of enormous size, in which water serves as the electrolyte. Magnesium sheet, performs the functions of the active electrode, is gradually destroyed, but keeps the metal of the core structure. Such magnesium protection supplied with steel and reinforced concrete piers, which is the Foundation of the Oil Rocks - village of fishermen in the Caspian sea.

Under water for magnesium, there was other work: from alloys of this metal made in England deep-sea diving suit, able to withstand large hydrostatic pressure. Near the time when this lightweight and durable garments geologists, drillers, installers will lead on the seabed of the work associated with mining.

Property of magnesium (in the form of powder, wire or tape) to burn dazzling white flame widely used in military equipment manufacturing lighting and flares, tracer bullets and shells, incendiary bombs. Until recently, this element were familiar to photographers: "Quiet! Shoot!" and a bright flash of magnesium powder was illuminated with a person who wanted to be photographed for posterity. Now in this role, magnesium is not already a powerful electric lamp forced him to resign.

Peace! Shoot!

But it is unlikely that saddens magnesium: it has a case and povazhny. He participates in the Grand work of accumulation of solar energy. Magnesium is part of chlorophyll - the great magician, which absorbs solar energy and converts carbon dioxide and water into complex organic substances (sugar, starch and other)necessary for human nutrition and animal. The process of formation of organic substances called photosynthesis (from the Greek word "property" is light, accompanied by a selection from the leaves of oxygen. Without chlorophyll there would be no life, and without magnesium would not have chlorophyll because it consists of 2 % of this element. And a lot of it? Judge for yourself: the total number of only magnesium in the chlorophyll of plants is about 100 billion tons! In addition to plants, magnesium is part of almost all living organisms. If you weigh, say, 60 pounds, about 25 grams of them is magnesium.

In the mid 60-ies of useful work was conducted by scientists at the University of Minnesota in the United States, elected by the object of scientific research egg shell. They were able to establish that the shell of the stronger, the more it contains magnesium. Therefore, by changing the composition of feed for laying hens, you can increase its strength. How important this conclusion for agriculture, can be seen by these figures: only in Minnesota annual losses due to combat eggs exceed a million dollars. Here no one will say that this work of scientists eggs eaten not worth it.

Magnesium increases the strength of eggshell

Magnesium is widely used in medicine: we mentioned about "Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate or magnesium sulphate), which serves as a reliable laxative. Pure magnesia (deadburned magnesia) is used at increased gastric acidity, heartburn, acid poisoning. Peroxide of magnesium - known disinfectant gastric disorders.

Statistics say that the residents of areas with a warmer climate spasms of the blood vessels are less common than the northerners. It is known that intravenous and intramuscular injections of solutions of some salts of magnesium relieve spasms. Accumulate in the body the necessary supply of these salts help fruits and vegetables (especially rich in magnesium apricots, peaches and cauliflower). In Asia, for example, where the diet is richer in magnesium, atherosclerosis and other heart diseases are less common than in Europe or the USA. English doctors recommend a daily intake of four banana to cover about half of the daily requirement of magnesium (she is 0.3-0.5 grams).

The experiments conducted by Hungarian scientists on animals have confirmed that the lack of magnesium in the body increases the predisposition to heart attacks. One dog was given food, rich in salts of this element, the other poor. At the end of the experiment the animals, whose diet was not enough magnesium, earned myocardial infarction.

The nervous, excitable people breaking of the heart muscle are observed much more frequently than in quiet. This is because in a moment of irritation magnesium contained in the body "burns".

Magnesium helps from overworkFrench biologists believe that this element will help the physicians in the fight against this serious disease of the twentieth century, as fatigue. Studies have shown that blood tired of people contains less magnesium than people full of energy, and even the most insignificant deviations "magnesium curve" from the norm is not in vain.

Biologists France has established a curious influence of the number of items on the floor offspring. It turns out that an excess of potassium in the diet of the mother leads to the fact that she is born offspring predominantly male. If her food rich in calcium and magnesium, the offspring dominates the female. Perhaps soon for mothers-to-be doctors will develop a special menu, ensure the birth of a boy or girl "to order". But first you will need to clarify whether the perceived impact of these items on person: as described observations relate to... the cows.

The scope of magnesium compounds is not limited to medicine. So, the magnesium oxide is used in rubber industry, in the manufacture of cements, refractory bricks. One of the canadian companies have developed technology for a new refractory material that is resistant to slag having high strength and low porosity; the main component of this lining serves as magnesium oxide of high purity.

As you know, the usual tubes begin to work normally only after they heat up. Every time you turn on the radio or TV, have some time to wait before you pour the sound of music or will begin to sparkle blue screen. To resolve this lack of radio tubes, Polish scientists have proposed to cover the cathodes magnesium oxide: new lamps start to work immediately after power-on.

In 1867 the French sorrel mixed calcined magnesium oxide with concentrated solution of its chloride and received the so-called magnesia cement (or cement Sorel). Today, with the help of this binder produce light, fire-resistant, sound-proof construction materials: wood - wood chips and xerolyt - from sawdust. Peroxide of magnesium is used for the bleaching of fabrics, sulfate of this element are used in textile and paper industry as a stain in dyeing, and its carbide is used in the manufacture of insulating materials.

And finally, another extensive floor-activity magnesium - organic chemistry. In the powdered form of magnesium is used for dehydration of such important organic substances, such as alcohol and aniline. Great value and magyarkanizsa compounds (in which the atom of magnesium is directly linked to the carbon atom). These substances, in particular alkylpolyglucoside (Grignard reagent), composed and Halogens (chlorine, bromine or iodine), widely used in chemistry. How important a role these compounds, it is possible to judge at least by the fact that in 1912 the French chemist Grignard for creating alkalinisation and development of the synthesis of organic compounds was awarded the Nobel prize. Many years later he wrote: "Like a well tuned violin, magyarkanizsa connection under the experienced, your fingers can give the sound more unexpected and more harmonious chords".

...So, the activity of magnesium in nature and the economy is very versatile. But perhaps it is still too early to speak about this item: "All he could, he'd already done". Famous Soviet Metallurgist academician A.F. Belov foresees extensive use of magnesium as a structural material: "By the year 2000, says the scientist, is sure to be found to protect the magnesium from corrosion, and it will be among the major metals".

Magnesium alloys have already been on the moon, where they in some parts of the drilling machine station "Luna-24" participated in the extraction of lunar soil. To grutsamaria the robot faced stringent requirements. First, this mechanism should be easy: after all, with such a long journey for each extra kilo additionally would need a large amount of fuel. Secondly, parts of the robot must be durable: it makes no sense to send them in so responsible a business trip, if there is no certainty that they will not fail in times of need. But working minutes on the moon could be really very difficult.

Designers drilling protozanova machine decided to use the light, but at the same time durable titanium and magnesium alloys. Before you send them in flight, scientists made grutsamaria device ordeal on Earth. It was tested during the drilling of a variety, including a very solid rock, and the test was conducted first in normal climatic conditions, and then in a large chamber in a high vacuum at high and low temperatures, simulating the conditions of the moon, where day "heat" (to +110°C) is followed by a night of "coolness" (up to -120°C). The tests were successful, as soon as successfully completed and flight of the automatic station: lunar soil was brought to the Ground.

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