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Magnesium Oxide Production
Magnesium oxide is produced by the calcination of magnesium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide. The latter is obtained by the treatment of magnesium chloride solutions, typically seawater, with lime.
Mg2+ + Ca(OH)2 → Mg(OH)2 + Ca2+
Calcining at different temperatures produces magnesium oxide of different reactivity. High temperatures 1500 – 2000 °C diminish the available surface area and produces dead-burned (often called dead burnt) magnesia, an unreactive form used as a refractory. Calcining temperatures 1000 – 1500 °C produce hard-burned magnesia, which has limited reactivity and calcining at lower temperature, (700–1000 °C) produces light-burned magnesia, a reactive form, also known as caustic calcined magnesia. Although some decomposition of the carbonate to oxide occurs at temperatures below 700 °C, the resulting materials appears to reabsorb carbon dioxide from the air.