3D model (JSmol)
|E number||E504(i) (acidity regulators, ...)|
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|Molar mass||84.3139 g/mol (anhydrous)|
|Appearance||white solid |
|Density||2.958 g/cm3 (anhydrous) |
2.825 g/cm3 (dihydrate)
1.837 g/cm3 (trihydrate)
1.73 g/cm3 (pentahydrate)
|Melting point|| 350 °C (662 °F; 623 K) |
165 °C (329 °F; 438 K)
0.0139 g/100ml (25 °C)
0.00603 g/100ml (100 °C)
Solubility product (Ksp)
|Solubility||soluble in acid, aqueous CO2 |
insoluble in acetone, ammonia
Refractive index (nD)
Heat capacity (C)
Std enthalpy of
Gibbs free energy (ΔfG?)
|A02AA01 (WHO) A06AD01 (WHO)|
|Safety data sheet||ICSC 0969|
|NFPA 704 (fire diamond)|
|NIOSH (US health exposure limits):|
|TWA 15 mg/m3 (total) TWA 5 mg/m3 (resp)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|what is ?)(|
The most common magnesium carbonate forms are the anhydrous salt called magnesite (MgCO3) and the di, tri, and pentahydrates known as barringtonite (MgCO3·2 H2O), nesquehonite (MgCO3·3 H2O), and lansfordite (MgCO3·5 H2O), respectively. Some basic forms such as artinite (MgCO3·Mg(OH)2·3 H2O), hydromagnesite (4 MgCO3·Mg(OH)2·4 H2O), and dypingite (4 MgCO3· Mg(OH)2·5 H2O) also occur as minerals.
Magnesite consists of white trigonal crystals. The anhydrous salt is practically insoluble in water, acetone, and ammonia. All forms of magnesium carbonate react in acids. Magnesium carbonate crystallizes in the calcite structure where in Mg2+ is surrounded by six oxygen atoms. The dihydrate one has a triclinic structure, while the trihydrate has a monoclinic structure.
Magnesium carbonate can be prepared in laboratory by reaction between any soluble magnesium salt and sodium bicarbonate:
If magnesium chloride (or sulfate) is treated with aqueous sodium carbonate, a precipitate of basic magnesium carbonate--a hydrated complex of magnesium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide--rather than magnesium carbonate itself is formed:
High purity industrial routes include a path through magnesium bicarbonate, which can be formed by combining a slurry of magnesium hydroxide and carbon dioxide at high pressure and moderate temperature. The bicarbonate is then vacuum dried, causing it to lose carbon dioxide and a molecule of water:
The decomposition temperature is given as 350 °C (662 °F). However, calcination to the oxide is generally not considered complete below 900 °C due to interfering readsorption of liberated carbon dioxide.
The hydrates of the salts lose water at different temperatures during decomposition. For example, in the trihydrate, which molecular formula may be written as Mg(HCO3)(OH)o2(H2O), the dehydration steps occur at 157 °C and 179 °C as follows:
The primary use of magnesium carbonate is the production of magnesium oxide by calcining. Magnesite and dolomite minerals are used to produce refractory bricks. MgCO3 is also used in flooring, fireproofing, fire extinguishing compositions, cosmetics, dusting powder, and toothpaste. Other applications are as filler material, smoke suppressant in plastics, a reinforcing agent in neoprene rubber, a drying agent, a laxative to loosen the bowels, and colour retention in foods. In addition, high purity magnesium carbonate is used as antacid and as an additive in table salt to keep it free flowing. Magnesium carbonate can do this because it doesn't dissolve in water, only acid, where it will effervesce (bubble).
Because of its low solubility in water and hygroscopic properties, MgCO3 was first added to salt in 1911 to make it flow more freely. The Morton Salt company adopted the slogan "When it rains it pours" with reference to the fact that its MgCO3-containing salt would not stick together in humid weather. Magnesium carbonate, most often referred to as 'chalk', is also used as a drying agent on athletes' palms in rock climbing, gymnastics and weight lifting.
Magnesium carbonate is also used in taxidermy for whitening skulls. It can be mixed with hydrogen peroxide to create a paste, which is then spread on the skull to give it a white finish.
In addition, magnesium carbonate is used as a matte white coating for projection screens.
Magnesium carbonate is non-toxic.
In fact, China produces 70 percent of the world's magnesite. Most of that production--both mining and processing--is concentrated in a small corner of Liaoning, a hilly industrial province in northeast China between Beijing and North Korea.