Magnesium is a silvery-white metal that is principally used as an alloy element for
aluminum, lead, zinc, and other nonferrous alloys. Magnesium is among the lightest of
all the metals, and also the sixth most abundant on earth. Magnesium is ductile and the
most machinable of all the metals. Magnesium has a protective
film to protect against corrosion, however it is easily corroded by chlorides,
sulfates, and other chemicals, therefore magnesium is often anodized to
improve its corrosion resistance.
Due to its light weight, superior machinability and ease of casting, magnesium is
used for many purposes such as auto parts, power tools, sporting goods,
aerospace equipment, fixtures, and material handling equipment. Automotive
applications include gearboxes, valve covers, wheels, clutch housings, and brake
pedal brackets. Wrought alloys are available in rod, bar, sheet, plate, forgings,
Magnesium alloys use a system of identification developed by ASTM and SAE in
which the the first part of the designation is the two principal alloying elements,
and the second part indicates their percentages.