Magnesium’s many properties make it a metal of choice in many industries. Technological advances and innovations are leading to the development of many new uses. Its primary current uses continue to be in the transportation and aluminum sectors.
Estimated Consumption Distribution of Magnesium Alloys by Application Worldwide
Source : Roskill, 2012
Magnesium is central to the transportation market and its electrification
Magnesium is the best choice for structural applications in which weight plays a major role.
Energy efficiency, increased performance and durability are also key issues when choosing a metal.
Light, fuel-efficient vehicles are at the centre of the automotive landscape, causing magnesium to gain ground as a preferred manufacturing material (Future Market Insights).
Lighter and longer lasting: Magnesium’s low density allows it to be used in vehicles to reduce their total weight. According to a World Bank report, The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future, the energy transition to a low-carbon economy is causing a significant increase in demand for minerals, including magnesium. Similarly, the electrification of transportation requires access to lightweight materials in order to increase the range of vehicles. Moreover, the increase in popularity of electric cars is directly linked to greater battery range.
Magnesium: essential to the aluminum market
Nearly 70% of global magnesium production is used to manufacture alloys. In fact, almost any element made from an aluminum alloy contains a certain percentage of magnesium.
Quebec’s aluminum sector is a major consumer of magnesium and requires this green metal for its greener aluminum production strategy.
This makes Alliance Magnesium a smart solution for growth-spurring partnerships. Magnesium will therefore join the light metals cluster currently expanding in Quebec.
Estimated distribution of the consumption of aluminum alloys by industry in the world
Source : Roskill, 2012
Essential to the iron and steel markets
The steel industry relies on various main reagents, including magnesium. Magnesium is preferred for its high-yield capacity. It can be added to hot metal in various forms: powder, salt-coated pellets or a lime-magnesium mixture. In addition, smaller quantities are required to treat the same amount of hot metal since magnesium is about 20 times more effective at removing sulphur than lime.
Magnesium in electronic equipment
Magnesium is probably more present than you think in everyday objects.
Indeed, magnesium alloys are particularly well suited to components for computers, communication devices and electronics, such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.
Magnesium not only reduces the weight of the devices, but it also offers excellent protection against electromagnetic interference and radio frequencies.
Magnesium alloys can reduce aircraft structural weight, improve noise damping and reduce fuel consumption and pollution.
Like its global competitors, Quebec’s aerospace industry is looking for new aluminum alloys. Alliance Magnesium has expressed interest in working on the development of a superalloy cluster. The aluminum superalloys currently under development can contain up to 10% magnesium.
Magnesium is both durable and lightweight, making it particularly well suited for use in aerodynamic sporting goods and sports equipment that benefits from being lightweight. For example:
- Snowboard bindings, snowshoes, snowmobiles
- Bicycle frames, racing bicycles and sports wheelchairs
- Body armour on professional motorcycle suits
- Golf clubs
In addition to structures that can be lightened with magnesium alloys, this metal is used for its strength in several components. It can be found in construction tools, including power and hand tools, household appliances, construction materials and telecommunications infrastructure.
Magnesium’s strength and lightness make it ideal for manufacturing military armour for personnel, tanks, artillery, vehicles and other military equipment. Several research efforts are underway to investigate the use of magnesium alloys in bulletproof vests and ultralight vehicles.
Magnesium is not only essential to a healthy diet. Magnesium alloy has been studied for use in another health sector: biodegradable metal implants for healing fractures. Implants made of a magnesium alloy consisting of trace elements existing in the human body (such as calcium, zinc and silicon) would remain in place until the bone fracture heals, after which the alloy would dissolve naturally and be absorbed into the bloodstream.