magnesium oxide

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magnesium oxide:

see magnesiamagnesia,
common name for the chemical compound magnesium oxide, MgO. It occurs as colorless, cubic crystals. It is refractory, melting at about 2,800°C;. It is very slightly soluble in pure water but is soluble in acids and solutions of ammonium salts.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Magnesium Oxide


MgO, colorless crystals. Density, 3.58 g/cm3; melting point, 2800°C; boiling point, 3600°C. Magnesium oxide exhibits marked volatility at 2000°C. It is poorly soluble in water (6.2 ×10-4 g per 100 g H2O at 20°C). In the microcrystalline state (fine white powder), amorphous MgO absorbs water vapor and CO2 from the air to form Mg(OH)2 and MgCO3; it reacts readily with acids. Strongly calcined magnesium oxide loses its ability to combine with water and dissolve in acids.

Magnesium oxide occurs naturally as the rare mineral periclase. It is prepared industrially by calcination of magnesite and dolomite, as well as by the thermal dissociation of magnesium sulfate and basic magnesium carbonate, 3MgCO3.Mg(OH)2.3H2O. The properties of the commercial product, calcined magnesia, depend on the conditions of preparation, and the grades of the product are differentiated by apparent density (lightness), sorption, and chemical activity. Heavy magnesium oxides are used in the manufacture of refractories; lighter oxides are used in the preparation of magnesia cements and construction materials; and the lightest oxides are used to refine petroleum products and as fillers in the rubber industry. In medicine, magnesium oxide is prescribed for internal use as an alkali to counteract increased gastric acidity, and in cases of acid poisoning it has a mild laxative effect.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

magnesium oxide

[mag′nē·zē·əm ′äk‚sīd]
(inorganic chemistry)
MgO A white powder that (depending on the method of preparation) may be light and fluffy, or dense; melting point 2800°C; insoluble in acids, slightly soluble in water; used in making refractories, and in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, insulation, and medicine.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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