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Magnesium as a structural material on Mars

Jan 17, 2020
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As Magnesium Sulfate is so common on Mars, has anyone thought about producing Magnesium metal on Mars as a structural material for future colonies.? Obviously it is used on Earth for making magnesium alloys etc. It's extremely light and potentially stronger than either steel or aluminium. It will obviously not burn in a thin CO2 atmosphere.
 
Jan 17, 2020
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If it's made very fine, Magnesium will burn in Earth's atmosphere very readily, not unlike Aluminium. It could also be used for the storage of excess Solar Energy.

The downside is that it takes a lot of energy to manufacture. The most efficient Aluminium smelters average 15kW for 1 kg of Aluminium or 44kW per litre. (Density 2.7g/cm3)

The newest process for producing Magnesium consumes 30kW for 1kg of Magnesium. or 52kW per litre. (density 1.74g/cm3)

So in terms of volume production, the energy requirements are comparable. Given that Magnesium salts are very common on Mars and can be readily extracted using (recycled) water, they could be a viable source of Magnesium metal for future colonists. The atmosphere is mainly CO2, so it would be relatively easy to precipitate Magnesium (and Calcium) as their carbonates.

Magnesium salts could also be a byproduct of the water extraction process on a future Mars colony.
 
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