Magnesium is a chemical element wi seembol Mg an atomic nummer 12. It is a shiny gray solit which bears a close pheesical resemblance tae the ither five elements in the seicont column (Group 2, or alkaline yird metals) o the periodic cairt: thay each hae the same electron confeeguration in thair ooter electron shell producin a seemilar crystal structur.
Magnesium is the nint maist abundant element in the universe. It is produced in lairge, agein starns frae the sequential addeetion o three helium nuclei tae a caurbon nucleus. Whan sic starns explode as supernovas, muckle o the magnesium is expelled intae the interstellar medium whaur it mey recycle intae new starn seestems. Magnesium is the aicht maist abundant element in the Yird's crust an the fowerth maist common element in the Yird (efter airn, oxygen an silicon), makkin up 13% o the planet's mass an a lairge fraction o the planet's mantle. It is the third maist abundant element dissolved in seawater, efter sodium an chlorine.
Magnesium occurs naiturally anly in combination wi ither elements, whaur it invariably has a +2 oxidation state. The free element (metal) can be produced artifeecially, an is heichly reactive (tho in the atmosphere, it is suin coatit in a thin layer o oxide that pairtly inhibits reactivity — see passivation). The free metal birns wi a chairactereestic brilliant-white licht. The metal is nou obteened mainly bi electrolysis o magnesium sauts obteened frae brack, an is uised primarily as a component in alumeenium-magnesium alloys, whiles cried magnalium or magnelium. Magnesium is less dense nor alumeenium, an the alloy is prized for its combination o lichtness an strenth.
Magnesium is the eleivent maist abundant element bi mass in the human bouk an is essential tae aw cells an some 300 enzymes. Magnesium ions interact wi polyphosphate compoonds sic as ATP, DNA, an RNA. Hunders o enzymes require magnesium ions tae function. Magnesium compoonds are uised medicinally as common laxatives, antacids (e.g., milk o magnes), an tae stabilise abnormal nerve excitation or bluid veshel spasm in sic condeetions as eclampsia.