Chemically, magnesium chloride is represented as MgCl2. It is a naturally occurring mineral salt which is mostly obtained from sea water and brine. In its pure form, it can be identified as a colorless, odorless, powdery substance with a bitter taste. It gets dissolved in water easily. It is more commonly found in hydrated state because it has a tendency to absorb moisture from the air.
For Prevention of Ice Formation on Roadways: Liquid magnesium chloride is widely used as an anti-icer. If it is sprayed on roadways before precipitation, it delays the formation of ice and prevents its adhesion to the surface of the road. Thus, it controls excessive accumulation of snow and ice on the roads in winter months. This in turn reduces the chance of skidding of vehicles and improves driving conditions. As compared to any other anti-icer like sodium chloride, it is the more preferred one mainly because it is less corrosive in nature. Moreover, it does not cause any harm to plant life growing beside roadways.
For Removal of Accumulated Ice After Precipitation: On the other hand, crystalline form of magnesium chloride is used to de-ice sidewalks, driveways, parking areas of home, offices, etc. When the crystals are spread on the accumulated ice of these areas, it lowers the freezing point of water and facilitates easier removal of snow.
For Controlling Loose Dust: Magnesium chloride tends to absorb a lot of moisture from air. When its liquid or powdered form is applied on dusty areas such as excavation sites, race courses, etc. the dust gets suppressed onto the ground. Thus, it prevents small dust particles from flying around and contaminating the air.
For Storage of Hydrogen Gas: Solid magnesium chloride can be used as a storage material for hydrogen gas. A single molecule of ammonia contains three hydrogen atoms in it. Ammonia is absorbed into the surface in the form of Mg(NH3)6Cl2 for storing hydrogen. Hydrogen thus stored can be obtained with the help of mild heat application. The heat will release ammonia which is then made to pass through a catalyst to get pure hydrogen gas.
For Manufacturing Industrial Products: Magnesium chloride has its uses in several industries. It is required for production of cement. Textile and paper industries make use of it too. Since, it is non-combustible in nature, it is used for making fireproof equipment. It is also being used in other industries such as paper industry and textile industry.
For Coagulation of Soy Milk: Magnesium chloride is an excellent coagulant and is used in the preparation of tofu. Here, it is used along with magnesium sulfate to coagulate soy milk, from which tofu is made.
For Medical Purpose: Magnesium chloride is available in the form of tablets and capsules to be used as nutritional supplement. It supplies your body with mineral component magnesium which is important for various biological processes. When taken regularly, it has several health benefits. It strengthens bones and teeth, keeps a check on blood pressure, prevents clotting of blood and so on. It reduces the risk of serious ailments like heart attack, osteoporosis, etc. It is taken as a medicine by those people who are suffering from magnesium deficiency. It is used as an ingredient in many oral and topical medicines. Due to its high nutritional value, it is one of the components of formula milk for infants.
Basically, magnesium chloride is a non toxic chemical substance. It does not cause any major harm to human health even if it is taken in large amounts. However, if you are planning to use it as a nutritional supplement, you must talk to your doctor once as it is not suitable for everyone. It is particularly harmful for patients with kidney disease. It is also not advisable for people who are prone to allergies.