Teaching Students About Magnesium Chloride: A Comprehensive Guide


Magnesium chloride is an ionic compound that serves a variety of purposes across various industries. It is essential to understand the properties, applications, and significance of this chemical compound. This article aims to provide educators with an appropriate approach to teaching students about magnesium chloride.

1. The Basics: Understanding the Chemical Compound

Begin by explaining the basic concepts of magnesium chloride:

– Definition: Magnesium chloride (MgCl2) is an ionic compound made up of one magnesium ion (Mg2+) and two chloride ions (Cl-). It appears as a white, crystalline solid at room temperature.

– Formation: Highlight how magnesium chloride forms when magnesium metal reacts with hydrochloric acid (HCl). This reaction generates hydrogen gas and magnesium chloride solution.

– Structure: Discuss the lattice structure in which magnesium ions are surrounded by six chloride ions, forming an octahedral arrangement.

2. Properties of Magnesium Chloride

Discuss the key physical and chemical properties of magnesium chloride:

– Solubility: Explain that magnesium chloride is highly soluble in water, and its solubility increases with temperature.

– Hygroscopic: Mention that it readily absorbs moisture from the air, making it hygroscopic.

– Ionic nature: Outline its electrical conductivity when dissolved in water or melted due to the presence of free-moving ions.

3. Sources and Production Methods

Teach students about natural sources and industrial production methods for obtaining magnesium chloride:

– Natural sources: Highlight sea water, ancient seabeds, and brine extracted from salt mines as common natural sources.

– Production methods: Describe industrial methods such as the Dow process, electrolysis of MgCl2 brine, or extracting it from carnallite (KMgCl3·6H2O) ore.

4. Applications of Magnesium Chloride

Explore various uses and applications of this versatile compound:

– Deicing agent: Explain how magnesium chloride is used as a deicing agent on roads and sidewalks to melt ice and snow.

– Dust control: Discuss its application in dust control, binding fine dust particles and keeping dirt roads, construction sites, and mining areas clean.

– Agriculture: Mention its use in fertilizers to supplement crops with magnesium, an essential nutrient for plant growth.

– Medicine: Outline its role as a magnesium supplement to prevent and treat magnesium deficiency, which can lead to muscle cramps, fatigue, and other symptoms.

5. Safety Precautions

Emphasize the importance of safety when handling magnesium chloride:

– Eye protection: Express the need for protective goggles to avoid eye irritation caused by contact with the compound.

– Skin protection: Advise students to wear gloves when handling magnesium chloride to prevent skin irritation or burns.

– Ingestion: Address the potential risks of ingesting significant amounts of magnesium chloride, which can cause diarrhea and upset stomach.


By educating students about the fundamentals, properties, sources, applications, and safety precautions associated with magnesium chloride, you will provide them with a solid foundation for understanding this essential chemical compound. As they continue their studies in chemistry or related fields, your effective guidance will undoubtedly serve as a valuable contribution to their academic growth.

Choose your Reaction!