How Magnesium Is Safely Handled And Processed

When handling and processing any kind of metal, safety is without a doubt the top priority. This process more often than not involves high temperatures and use of different chemicals, meaning that one can’t be too precautious when it comes to handling and processing magnesium.

So, what are some of the methods and strategies we implement in the safe handling and processing of this lightweight yet strong metal? Today, Magnium Australia outline the key ways that magnesium manufacturers keep their facilities safe while at work.

Safety clothing and equipment

Safety clothing and equipment is a must when processing magnesium. Molten magnesium has a melting point of 650 degrees Celsius, making it a serious hazard if it were to come in contact with human skin. That’s why we use the right kind of protective equipment and clothing such as fire-retardant clothing, safety hats and shields, goggles, spats and safety boots, insulated gauntlet gloves and others.

Protection when melting

Processing magnesium often involves melting it, but what we want to avoid at all costs is for it to burn. Molten magnesium will ignite and burn if exposed to air, so this must be prevented in order to safely handle and process it. Many facilities use a protective gas such as sulphur dioxide in small concentrations, mixed with nitrogen, argon, or air and carbon dioxide, which forms a protective film over the surface of the molten magnesium, preventing ignition.

Preventing contact with water

Water must never come in contact with molten magnesium. This is because water will expand up to 1000 times its original volume if it comes in contact with molten magnesium, causing an explosion and possibly throwing the molten metal great distances. As part of the safe handling and processing of magnesium, automatic sprinklers are never installed over melting operations, heat treating surfaces or storage and production areas containing magnesium in finely divided forms.

Keeping the melting pots free of scale

Keeping melting pots clean and free of scale is one of the most crucial aspects of handling and processing magnesium safely. Molten magnesium can react exothermically with iron oxide which can produces dangerous temperatures, excess of 2,200°C. Most magnesium melting pots are made of steel, and therefore, it’s incredibly important to keep the inside area of the pot clean and free of scale to avoid an exothermic reaction like the one mentioned.

Thanks to the many precautions in place for the safe handling and processing of magnesium, incidents are rare as these measures are taken super seriously. Magnium Australia are reinventing the magnesium production landscape, and are dedicated to the low-carbon process of magnesium manufacturing which they’ve created. Their first-of-its-kind technology uses carbothermic reduction to produce magnesium in a way that’s efficient and low-emission on a scale that’s never been seen before. Magnium are committed to solving the problem of climate change by decarbonising mineral processing.