Physical And Chemical Properties Of Magnesium Sulfate
Magnesium sulfate is obtained from the mineral epsomite, a white solid. It can also be prepared commercially by the reaction of magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) with sulfuric acid (H2SO4). Magnesium sulfate is usually found in the form magnesium sulfate heptahydrate (MgSO4 • 7 H2O). The "hepta" prefix refers to the seven water molecules that are loosely attached to each magnesium sulfate molecule. Magnesium sulfate is very soluble in water. At room temperature about 1.5 lb (700 g) of MgSO4 can be dissolved in a quart (1 L) of water. When dissolved in water, magnesium sulfate ionizes (or separates into ions) into magnesium (Mg2+) ions, and sulfate (SO 2- 4 ) ions. Solutions of magnesium sulfate have a neutral pH. Magnesium sulfate is used in many industrial processes and in the manufacturing of fertilizers. Magnesium is essential for plant growth because each chlorophyll molecule contains a magnesium atom. Without this magnesium atom in the center of the chlorophyll molecule, plants would be unable to use the energy from sunlight for growth.