Lightest Structural Metal
With a density of less than 1.8gcm3, by volume, magnesium is 30% lighter than aluminum and 75% lighter than steel.
Mg = 1.74 g/cm3
Al = 2.7 g/cm3 33% lighter than aluminum
Ti = 4.5 g/cm3 60% lighter than titanium
Steel = 7.9 g/cm3 75% lighter than steel
Alloys are available that have comparable properties with other structural metals – with the added advantage of superior performance at elevated temperatures (good creep resistance).
High Specific Stiffness
For bars with equivalent weight and width, magnesium is 18 times stiffer than steel and double that of aluminum. In practice it is not always possible to increase section thickness to these extents. However, with only small increases in cross section it is still possible to redesign parts that offer 20 -25% weight savings over aluminum equivalents and 65-70% weight savings when substituting steel designs.
Modern alloys have good corrosion resistance and for more severe environments, there is a range of surface passivation and top coat treatments commercially available.
Magnesium can be shaped into sheet and plate by rolling, cast using sand and die casting processes, extruded into both solid and hollow profiles, and processed as powder and granules. These can be further shaped using forging, pressing, folding or simply machining from solid.
Magnesium is the easiest of all structural metals to machine. Wet or dry, 5-10 times longer tool life over aluminum, more speed and lower energy requirements. Advantages include:
- Low power consumption (45% less than aluminum)
- Fast machining rate (55% quicker than aluminum)
- Excellent surface finish
- Reduced tool wear
- Well broken chips
Excellent uniform properties on both thin and thick sections.
Has inherent screening properties, useful for electronic enclosures, and has good thermal conductivity for heat dissipation.
Uses less power when used in accelerating/decelerating systems such as transport, reciprocating machinery, robotics, etc.
Magnesium has excellent vibration damping properties making it ideal for applications such as shock and vibration test rigs.
In sheet metal form, magnesium has superior dent resistance to aluminum – useful for applications such as vehicle body panels, handheld portable devices and ruggedized computers.
Magnesium is an essential element in the human body for correct metabolic function.
TIG, MIG and friction-stir welding
Parent metal weld rod available
Abundant element (1.3 million tons per cubic kilometer of seawater).