# Buy or make magnesium (local only)

Hey guys,

I'm on a bit of a time crunch here, I have to have everything buy Wednesday (10/27). I've been asked to give a presentation on food in the classroom at a meeting on Wednesday. What I normally like to do is a demonstration involving a Flameless heater. I just use the same technique as the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flameless_ration_heater" [Broken]. Mg + 2H20 -> Mg(OH)2 + H2 . Usually I just buy some magnesium, or magnesium + aluminum online, however with my time crunch I don't really have the ability this time. So what I'd like to know is if A) Anyone knows of a place in Florida locally to get Magnesium, and B) Can I make magnesium from anything? I've read up on that homedepot sometimes offers magnesium/calcium for use in concrete. There is also "lime", where is a calcium/magnesium mix. Is there any easy way to separate the calcium out? Does anyone have any other ideas?

Thanks!

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MATLABdude
Could you go to a local camping / military surplus store and buy a flameless ration heater? (may or may not come with an MRE)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flameless_ration_heater

I'd also take a look at your Yellow Pages under Chemical Supply or Scientific Supply--if nothing, some of the early calls might lead to someone who *does* know a local supply. The Google search seems to be rather hit or miss:

We have a fisher scientific locally, but they want $40+ for 100-300g of magnesium. An idea I was told about was to use magnesium oxide, which you can get from any nutrition place, such as a GNC. Mix it with hydocloric acid, to form MgCl + H20, then use electrolysis with carbon electrodes, to get Mg + C02 + HCL. Do you think this is a practical idea? MATLABdude Science Advisor We have a fisher scientific locally, but they want$40+ for 100-300g of magnesium.

An idea I was told about was to use magnesium oxide, which you can get from any nutrition place, such as a GNC. Mix it with hydocloric acid, to form MgCl + H20, then use electrolysis with carbon electrodes, to get Mg + C02 + HCL. Do you think this is a practical idea?

Not unless you have an arc furnace, a few tonnes of ore, money to pay for the electricity required to do the previous, and a few years to invest in refining the process. You can't do the electrolysis in water: you'll reduce the water before you reduce the magnesium. Any that you might happen to reduce (statistically, there might be a few atoms) will spontaneously react with the water anyways. The only way the electrolysis occurs is with the molten compound:
http://www.gcsescience.com/ex7.htm
http://www.tutorvista.com/topic/molten-magnesium-chloride-electrolysis

Long story short, the \$40 is a bargain compared to the above--chalk it up as a learning lesson in keeping some stock on hand. That or buy the ration heater or go without the demo.

chemisttree
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Lawn boy lawnmower decks used to be made from magnesium. Find an old used one. Bull floats for concrete finishing are made from magnesium as well. Magnesium anode rods are used in hot water heaters. http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/ARISTON-Anode-Rod-1AYC2" [Broken]

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turbo
Gold Member
Lawn boy lawnmower decks used to be made from magnesium. Find an old used one. Bull floats for concrete finishing are made from magnesium as well. Magnesium anode rods are used in hot water heaters. http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/ARISTON-Anode-Rod-1AYC2" [Broken]
Many parts that claim to be made of magnesium are actually alloys, and won't burn like the pure stuff. Bull-floats, for instance, are alloyed for toughness, abrasion-resistance and extra rigidity

The fire-starter that I linked is the pure stuff. Soft enough to cut shavings from, and it will burn hot enough to start fires with damp wood, bark, etc.

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