Magnesium alloys have traditionally been specified by designers because of their favourable strength to weight ratios
Magnesium is approximately two thirds the density of aluminium and a quarter that of steel. Some of the more recently developed magnesium alloys have improved resistance to corrosion and better all round mechanical properties, especially at elevated temperature.
The growing number of available magnesium alloys are divided into two groups: casting alloys and wrought alloys. Wrought product forms (described below) include both extruded sections and rolled sheet/plate along with tubes and forgings. Various heat treatments are used to attain maximum strength and machining of most magnesium alloys is excellent.
Applications for magnesium alloys can be found in aerospace and motorsport sectors where strength combined with reduced weight are of critical importance. Gearbox components, pistons and casings are typical applications. Magnesium forgings are becoming more popular with designers for high temperature applications. New alloys continue to be developed and more recent applications have included electronics and nuclear engineering.
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