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Is magnesium diamagnetic or paramagnetic? Why?



Welcome to this special blog post where I’ll be answering one of the most perplexing questions in physics: Is magnesium diamagnetic or paramagnetic? Before we dive into this deep philosophical question, let me give you a quick disclaimer: I’m no expert in quantum mechanics, so I’ll do my best to provide an easy-to-understand explanation that even the average layperson can appreciate. Let’s get started!

Magnesium is paramagnetic, which means it has a positive response to both magnetic and electric fields

Magnesium is paramagnetic, which means it has a positive response to both magnetic and electric fields. This means that if placed in a magnetic field, the atoms in the substance will align with the lines of the field. This phenomenon occurs due to the presence of unpaired electrons in its atoms that produce a net magnetic moment. Unlike diamagnetic materials, (such as copper) paramagnetic substances (like magnesium) experience attraction towards magnets instead of repulsion.

The process behind this phenomenon can be explained by two principles: spin and orbital magnetism. Spin magnetism accounts for effects caused by electron spin, while orbital magnetism is attributed to electron movements or orbitals around an atom’s nucleus. In some cases, partial filling of orbitals can cause a material’s electrons to become unpaired and thus causing paramagnetic effects.

In addition to having magnitude based on its levels of orbital alignment with an external magnetic field, the combined effect from all the individual net magnetic moments results gives many paramagnetic materials their characteristic strength and sensitivity when interacting with a magnetic field. This property is key for applications like mass spectrometry, nuclear technology and splitting atoms for energy production like in a fission reactor. Magnesium holds promise as it potential as an alloying agent used in replacing/augmenting other metals found common materials due its excellent corrosion resistance while still exhibiting strong paramagnetic characteristics.

Other characteristics of magnesium

Magnesium is a chemical element with atomic number 12 and symbol Mg. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in Earth’s crust. Magnesium is found in several minerals including dolomite, brucite, the mineral magnesium chloride and sea salt.

Besides being paramagnetic or diamagnetic, magnesium also has other interesting characteristics. For instance, it is moderately reactive when exposed to air and extremely reactive when exposed to water or steam. Its normal oxidation state is +2 and its density is 1.74 g/cm3 at room temperature. Magnesium also reacts with both acids and bases and burns with a bright white flame when heated in air. Its melting point is 650°C (1202°F) and boiling point is 1090°C (1994°F). Moreover, it has a low electrical conductivity, a relatively high thermal conductivity (second only to silver and conductor of electricity after aluminum), high electrical resistivity, low reflectance in both visible light as well as infrared radiation, strong spectral absorption lines in ultraviolet light spectroscopy from 200–400 nm wavelength range caused by inner transition metals as well as resonance lines from 600–800 nm due to presence of surface ionization sites at magnesium salts(solute).

When magnesium ion (Mg2+) becomes positively charged

When magnesium ion (Mg2+) becomes positively charged, it acts as a paramagnetic material due to its unpaired electrons in their electron outer orbitals. Each of these unpaired electrons has its own spin and are attracted to an externally applied magnetic field, causing the atom to align itself with the external magnetic field. This property is what causes a material to be paramagnetic. By contrast, a diamagnetic material will push away from an externally applied magnetic field because it’s orbital dipoles are permanently opposed to an external magnetic field when its electrons are paired up. Magnesium is therefore seen as a paramagnetic material for this reason.


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