The eighth most abundant element in the earth’s crust, and the fourth most common element in the earth overall, magnesium was discovered in 1775 by Sir Joseph Black and first isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1808. Widely used for aerospace, industrial and medical applications, magnesium is often alloyed with aluminum to create a strong, lightweight, and corrosion resistant alloy that has many distinct performance advantages. Magnesium alloys are lightweight, have high specific strength, good corrosion resistance and are easily casted. Confluent Maine machines custom seamless tubing made from magnesium for customers around the globe.
Magnesium alloys are typically about two-thirds the density of aluminum and a quarter the density of steel. This has made them a long-term mainstay of the aerospace industry. Because components made from magnesium are lightweight, corrosion resistant and function dependably at elevated temperatures, they are used in helicopter and airplane engines, where they are routinely exposed to high heat, and must withstand the internal forces of high-speed engine components.
Magnesium-aluminum alloys are ideal when weight reduction is a critical design factor. Weight savings translate directly into lower fuel and transportation costs. Lightweight precision components also translate into less manpower needed for assembly and reduced load requirements for structural supports.
Like the aerospace industry, the automotive industry relies extensively on magnesium alloys. Magnesium is used in pistons, racing wheels and many other engine components. As the automotive industry strives to increase fuel efficiency by reducing vehicle weight, lightweight magnesium alloy has become an increasingly valuable design option.
In the medical industry, magnesium’s weight and strength makes it an ideal candidate for implantable devices. Magnesium has a density similar to that of human bone. It is also found naturally in the body as an ion, making magnesium a uniquely biocompatible material. Magnesium implants are nontoxic and naturally corrode within the human body over time. In many orthopedic applications, the natural corrosion properties of magnesium are of great benefit to the patient. For example, specially manufactured magnesium alloy devices are designed to offer temporary support while broken bones are healing; they provide the strength and biocompatibility the patient needs, but unlike other commonly used medical implants, they dissolve over time and are safely absorbed by the body when their support is no longer required. This eliminates the expense and pain of additional surgeries typically required to remove implants.
Magnesium-aluminum alloys are easy to work with, bend and reshape. They transfer heat effectively, making them ideal for use in the design and manufacture of electronics. High-performance racing bikes, manufactured with lightweight strength in mind, depend on magnesium alloy tubing for its rigidity and strength.
In its pure form, magnesium is highly combustible. This has given it a justifiable reputation as very challenging to work with in production machining environments. Despite this, Confluent Maine is able to drill magnesium safely and efficiently. We regularly drill custom tubing from magnesium bar stock to industry leading concentricity and depth-to-ID standards. We look forward to assisting you with your magnesium tubes project, from conception to final product delivery.