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Magnesium is the eighth most abundant element in Earth’s crust and, after aluminum and iron, the third most plentiful structural metal. It is the lightest of the alkaline-earth elements and, along with calcium and potassium, is essential to all cellular life. It is found in nature as carbonates-magnesite (MgCO3) and dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2)-and in the minerals brucite, carnallite, olivine and talc. Magnesium is also the only metal with a +2 oxidation state and forms a number of coordination compounds, such as chromium chloride (KCl), magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) and magnesite-magnesium carbonate, MgCO3; and a few other complexes, including hexamethylenetetramine-magnesium dichromate, MCrO2.
Chemical formulas are used to express the chemical compositions of elements and molecules. The molecular formula, or chemical molecular formula, indicates the number of atoms of each constituent element present in one molecule of a compound. The ionic chemical formula, or empirical formula, is used to represent the ratio of cations and anions in the crystal lattice. For example, sodium chloride, the compound with chemical formula NaCl, is made of an equal number of sodium and chlorine ions.
Potassium dichromate, or bichromate, is a colorless to white crystalline solid or an opaque powder that dissolves in water, glycerin, ethers and alcohols but not in acetone. It is also an ingredient in many organometallic compounds, such as the Grignard reagents, which are used in organic synthesis. In addition, it is useful for tanning leather; in dyeing and coloring textiles and cellulose; in making safety matches; and as an oxidizer for electric batteries and in the manufacture of organic chemicals.