DAVID TAYLOR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID TAYLOR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Burning magnesium ribbon. Magnesium burns with a characteristic brilliant white light, generating copious amounts of white magnesium oxide smoke. Magnesium is a light, soft metal, with atomic number 12 and relative atomic mass 24.3. Its lightness makes it very useful in certain alloys, most particularly with aluminium - such as 'Dural' used in the aerospace industry. It was first isolated in 1808 by Sir Humphrey Davy.
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