Magnesium carbonate, MgCO3, is an inorganic salt that is a white solid. Several hydrated and basic forms of magnesium carbonate also exist as minerals. The most common magnesium carbonate forms are the anhydrous salt called magnesite (MgCO3). All forms of magnesium carbonate react in acids. Magnesium carbonate crystallizes in the calcite structure where in Mg2+ is surrounded by six oxygen atoms.
Magnesium carbonate can be manufactured from reaction between magnesium hydroxide and carbon dioxide. Magnesium hydroxide is treated with 3.5 to 5 atm of carbon dioxide below 50 °C, giving soluble magnesium bicarbonate:
Mg(OH)2 + 2 CO2 → Mg(HCO3)2
Following the filtration of the solution, the filtrate is dried under vacuum to produce magnesium carbonate as a hydrated salt.
Used in bath products, makeup products, personal cleanliness products, shaving products, oral care products and skin and hair care products.
The primary use of magnesium carbonate is the production of magnesium oxide by calcining. Magnesite and dolomite minerals are used to produce refractory bricks. MgCO3 is also used in flooring, fireproofing, fire extinguishing compositions, and dusting powder.
Used as a drying agent for hands in rock climbing, gymnastics, and weight lifting. Magnesium carbonate is also used in taxidermy for whitening skulls. It can be mixed with hydrogen peroxide to create a paste, which is then spread on the skull to give it a white finish. It can also be used as filler material, smoke suppressant in plastics and reinforcing agent in neoprene rubber.