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Difference Between Aluminum and Magnesium


What are Aluminium and Magnesium?  Aluminium vs Magnesium


Aluminium word was derived after alum called as ‘alumen’ in Latin. The metal was discovered by Humphry Davy, a chemist in 1808. Aluminium is a whitish silver coloured, ductile and nonmagnetic metal present in abundance and contributing to around 8% of the earth’s mass. It is quite sturdy, light in weight and its symbol is Al. Aluminium is a key metal used for various engineering products; automobiles, trains, aeroplanes, home appliances, computer hardware parts, solid rocket fuels, walking poles, thermite, coins in countries like Romania, Finland, France and Italy, construction, paints, packaging, shelves in the refrigerator and the modern interiors. This metal was discovered around 200 years ago. The most beneficial compounds of Aluminium are oxides and sulfates. Aluminium is never found in elemental state.

Aluminium metal has lower density, very soft but possesses strong malleability. It also has very good thermal and electrical conductivity. Aluminium metal can be easily recycled as well.
Various compounds of Aluminium include Halides, Oxides and hydroxides, Carbide, nitrite, Organoaluminium compounds. All the compounds of Aluminium are colourless.

Aluminium has health concerns associated. In humans, Aluminium toxicity may cause blood- brain barrier. Aluminium is not as toxic as other heavy metals but small amounts of toxicity can be caused if it is consumed more than 40 mg/kg of body per day. Aluminium is nicely tolerated by plants though. Aluminium in its metal form is mostly produced from bauxite (AlOx(OH)3–2x).


Magnesium is the lightest metal found in the world having a shiny grey colour with symbol Mg. It is the second most abundant metal found in the earth’s crust. It is around thirty four percent lighter by volume than aluminium.
Magnesium was discovered by Joseph Black at Edinburg in 1755. Magnesium is also an abundant metal present in the earth’s mass, but it doesn’t occur un- combined in nature. Magnesite and dolomite are the minerals which contain large quantities of Magnesium. Our oceans have trillions of tons of Mg present in them and that is the reason the oceans are the biggest source of Mg from where 850,000 tons is produced every year.
Magnesium is a useful metal for manufacturing light weight products like car seats, laptops, luggage bags, cameras and power appliances. Magnesium is mixed in molten iron as well to remove sulfur. Magnesium is quite combustible and that is the reason it is used in flares, fireworks and sparklers as well.
Magnesium sulfate is used as a combining agent for fixing dyes. Magnesium hydroxide acts as a fire retardant in plastics. Magnesium oxide is mixed with bricks to make them heat resistant. Magnesium is also mixed in the fertilizers and in the cattle feed. Magnesium is also used in some medicines. Some organic Mg compounds are also significant in the chemical industry. It is used as a Grignard reagent (organic chemic reactions) and in several food and culture media because it is required for growth of organisms.

Magnesium has the tendency to combine well with many acids and forms Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2) and Hydrogen gas (H2 gas). Mg is extracted mostly form sea water using calcium hydroxide and exists in mineral form like dolomite, magnesite, carnallite, talc etc,

Difference between Aluminium and Magnesium

1. Corrosion

The Aluminium metal is resistant to corrosion.
Magnesium has the tendency to corrode though the rate of corrosion is very slow.

2. Atomic number
The atomic number is 13.
The atomic number is 12.

3. Cost effectiveness

Aluminium alloys are less expensive. It has less die casting cost.

Magnesium alloys are expensive. The die casting cost is quite high.

4. Biological role

Aluminium has no significance in the biological systems and there is no evidence to prove its role in any biochemical process. Though living organisms do contain some amount of Aluminium in them, yet there does not exist any scientific proof for its requirement in the human body.

Magnesium is important for both plants and animals. In plants, photosynthesis cannot take place without Magnesium and in humans, Magnesium facilitates working of various enzymes. Humans consume around 250-350 mg of Mg every day. It is mostly stored in the bones in humans.

5. Specific gravity

Aluminium has a specific gravity of 2.7.

Magnesium has the specific gravity of 1.7.

6. Alloy properties

Aluminium alloys need longer time period for the solidification and also provide a longer die life. Aluminium is quite stable, less expensive and does not bend easily under stress due to its being sturdy.

Magnesium alloys take lesser time to solidify. Magnesium is less stable, very expensive and bends easily when under stress because of being soft.

7. Cations

Al forms +3 cations (a positively charged ion).
Mg forms +2 cations.

8. Solubility

Aluminium is not soluble in water at room temperature
Magnesium is highly soluble in water at room temperature and reacts with water.

9. Minerals

Bauxite, cryolite, beryl, garnet

Magnesite, maridianiite, epsomite, dolomite, talc

10. Electronic configuration

1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p1

1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2


Magnesium and Aluminium are commonly used metals. They occur naturally and have certain applications in their mineral forms. Magnesium is an important element in food items and in fertilizers as well for the development of the organisms while as Aluminium is a structural material used for engineering purposes.



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  1. I really loved reading your thoughts, obviously you know what are you talking about! Your site is so simple to navigate too, I’ve bookmarked all of it in my favourites 😀

  2. We are a professional manufacturer that produce the led display, led panel light ,led tube and other led components.

  3. Science is so shit!

  4. This is very poorly written. Above you say that Mag is cheaper and easier to die cast than Aluminum, so why does your summary say that Aluminum is cheaper?

    Also, you say “An estimated tool life for aluminum versus magnesium production die is 100,000 to 150,000 shots.” What does this mean? You’ll get 100k to 150k more shots in Al?

    Additionally, there are grades of aluminum that are lighter than Mag.

    Lastly, Aluminum needs to be anodized for corrosion resistance and surface finish, where’s the comparison with this? I will agree that you can get much better finishes on Al parts.

  5. In 1970, I found a walker for my father who was very weak and difficult to get around, the walker was made of magnesium and it was so light, it helped him to live to 1983, where my mother started to use it until 1994, then my wife used it till 2007, and now i’m using it. I’ve been to the the hospital where they use this light weight aluminum walker, and to me it weighs like a ton. I told them to keep it, they were very surprised at my attitude, but I knew the answer.

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References :

[0]Eskin, D. G., & Katgerman, L. (2004). Mechanical properties in the semi-solid state and hot tearing of aluminium alloys. Progress in Materials Science, 49(5), 629-711.

[1]Mertz, W. (2012). Trace elements in human and animal nutrition (Vol. 2). Elsevier.

[2]Miller, W. S., Zhuang, L., Bottema, J., Wittebrood, A., De Smet, P., Haszler, A., & Vieregge, A. (2000). Recent development in aluminium alloys for the automotive industry. Materials Science and Engineering: A, 280(1), 37-49.

[3]Mordike, B. L., & Ebert, T. (2001). Magnesium: properties—applications—potential. Materials Science and Engineering: A, 302(1), 37-45.

[4]Polmear, I. J. (1994). Magnesium alloys and applications. Materials science and technology, 10(1), 1-16.

[5]Tzanetakis, P., Hillairet, J., & Revel, G. (1976). The formation energy of vacancies in aluminium and magnesium. physica status solidi (b), 75(2), 433-439.

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