eFunda: General Information on Magnesium Alloys
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General Information
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.
Applications
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, and extrusions.
Designations
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.
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