Editorial Feature

Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles - Properties, Applications

This article was updated January 2024.

Learn about the properties and applications of magnesium oxide nanoparticles in this article.

Magnesium oxide, is a natural product, obtained from the calcination of the mineral magnesia, strengthens the digestive system.

Image Credit: RHJPhtotos/Shutterstock.com

Nanomaterials with diameters of <100 nm are being used in a number of applications across multiple domains, such as biology, physics, chemistry, cosmetics, optical components, polymer science, pharmaceutical drug manufacture, toxicology, and mechanical engineering.

Magnesium is a Block S, Period 3 element, while oxygen is a Block P, Period 2 element. Magnesium can be commercially produced from carnallite, brucite, magnesite, olivine and talc.

Magnesium oxide nanoparticles are odorless and non-toxic. They possess high hardness, high purity and a high melting point. Magnesium oxide nanoparticles appear in a white powder form.

These nanoparticles possess beneficial physiochemical behaviors such as excellent corrosion resistance, high thermal conductivity, remarkable refractive index, good physical strength, low electrical conductivity, outstanding optical transparency, and dielectric resistance.

Chemical Properties of Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles

The chemical properties of magnesium oxide nanoparticles are outlined in the following table.

Chemical Data
Chemical symbol MgO
CAS No. 1309-48-4
Group Magnesium 2
Oxygen 16
Electronic configuration Magnesium [Ne] 3s2
Oxygen [He] 2s2 2p4
Chemical Composition
Element Content (%)
Magnesium 60.29
Oxygen 39.67

Physical Properties of Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles

The physical properties of magnesium oxide nanoparticles are given in the following table.

Properties Metric Imperial
Density 3.58 g/cm3 0.129 lb/in3
Molar mass 40.30 g/mol -

Thermal Properties of Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles

The thermal properties of magnesium oxide nanoparticles are provided in the table below.

Properties Metric Imperial
Melting point 2852°C 5166°F
Boiling point 3600°C 6512°F

Magnesium oxide nanoparticles can be prepared using the hydroxide precipitation process, which is followed by thermal decomposition of the hydroxide. MgO can be characterized by X-ray powder diffraction and scanning electron microscopes.

Applications of Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles

Magnesium oxide nanoparticles can be applied in several fields, including electronics, catalysis, ceramics, and petrochemical products. When combined with natural materials such as wood chips and shavings, they can be used to produce lightweight, heat insulating and sound-proofing materials, refractory fiber board, and metallic ceramics.

The potential applications of magnesium oxide nanoparticles are as follows:

  • High-temperature dehydrating agent used for the production of silicon steel sheet, high-grade ceramic materials, adhesives, and additives.
  • Electric insulating material for crucibles, smelters, insulated conduits, and electrode bars/sheets.
  • High-frequency magnetic-rod antennas, magnetic device fillers, insulating material fillers and various carriers used in the radio industry.
  • As a fire retardant in the chemical fiber and plastics trades.
  • In refractory materials, magnesite-chrome bricks, as a filler for refractory coatings, refractory and insulating instrument optical material, a material for steel-smelting furnace and other high- temperature furnaces, and ceramic base plates.
  • Fuel additives, cleaners, antistatic agents and corrosion inhibitors.

Green Synthesis of Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles

Conventional production methods for magnesium oxide nanoparticles involve potentially toxic chemicals and reagents as well as resources such as energy and water. To improve the environmental friendliness of nanoparticle and nanomaterial production, many scientists are exploring green synthesis methods.

Green synthesis methods are a hot topic in multiple industries at the moment as they have the potential to help them meet the UN’s sustainability goals and net zero ambitions. These methods employ the use of non-toxic reagents and chemicals and significantly reduce water, energy consumption, and carbon emissions.

Magnesium oxide nanoparticles have been successfully manufactured using green synthesis methods, but some key challenges persist with producing bulk nanoparticles using these environmentally friendly processes.

One of the main barriers to producing magnesium oxide nanoparticles is the biological extracts themselves, which cause challenges with elucidating reactions and their mechanisms. Overcoming this challenge is one of the main focuses of green chemistry.

Green synthesis methods offer a broad range of opportunities for producing nanoparticles with good stability and novel properties. Magnesium oxide nanoparticles produced using these environmentally friendly approaches have a wide range of potential applications in the energy, biomedical, and environmental industries.

Investigating Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles as an Effective Antibacterial Agent Against Phytopathogens

One of the main advantages of magnesium oxide nanoparticles in biomedical and agricultural applications is their non-toxicity to plants and animals. This makes them interesting targets for research into their antibacterial properties to fight pathogens.

A paper published in 2018 in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology investigated the antibacterial action of magnesium oxide nanoparticles against Ralstonia solanacearum, a phytopathogen responsible for bacterial wilt in tobacco crops.

The team conducting the research discovered that the main toxicity mechanism of magnesium oxide nanoparticles against R. solanacearum was the physical disruption of bacterial cells via attachment of nanoparticles, which leads to drastically reduced motility and biofilm formation.

Another possible reason for the antibacterial activity of magnesium oxide nanoparticles is the accumulation of reactive oxygen species, which causes actions such as damage to bacterial DNA, amongst other effects. Physical disruption to bacterial cells was observed and confirmed using TEM and SEM.

The results of the experiments carried out by researchers demonstrated significant concentration-dependent antibacterial activity. MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) and MBC (minimum bactericidal concentration) were 200 and 250 μg/mL, respectively.

Greenhouse experiments on tobacco crops infected with R. solanacearum confirmed the reduction of bacterial wilt index due to the significant antibacterial activity of magnesium oxide nanoparticles. Thus, magnesium oxide nanoparticles could be used as alternative, eco-friendly, and non-toxic antibacterial agents in the future.

Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles: In Summary

Magnesium oxide nanoparticles have multiple potential applications due to their unique and favorable physiochemical properties, non-toxicity, and several other advantages. However, their production, like most nanomaterials, suffers from a lack of ecological friendliness. For this reason, green synthesis methods are emerging.

Some interesting research has been conducted in recent years into the potential antibacterial and biomedical applications of magnesium oxide nanoparticles, which could see them emerging as viable, eco-friendly, and non-toxic alternatives to some conventional therapies.

See More: Graphene-Wrapped Magnesium Nanoparticles for Hydrogen Energy Storage

References and Further Reading

Abinaya, S et al. (2021) Green synthesis of magnesium oxide nanoparticles and its applications: A review Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy 19, 100368 [online] sciencedirect.com. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352554120306070

Cai, L et al. (2018) Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles: Effective Agricultural Antibacterial Agent Against Ralstonia solanacearum Front. Microbiol. 9 [online] frontiersin.org. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.00790

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Reginald Davey

Written by

Reginald Davey

Reg Davey is a freelance copywriter and editor based in Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Writing for AZoNetwork represents the coming together of various interests and fields he has been interested and involved in over the years, including Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences, and Environmental Science.


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  1. vishnu prasad vishnu prasad India says:

    Is mgo poisonous, can it be used for nano fluid preparation?

  2. Bhargavi gunturu Bhargavi gunturu India says:

    Could you please provide the surface properties of MgO nano particles?

  3. Neeraj Marwaha Neeraj Marwaha India says:

    can you explain the doing of MgO with semiconductor

  4. Sushma Chowdary Sushma Chowdary India says:

    how to prepare C doped MgO nanoparticles?

  5. Sana Saied Sana Saied Egypt says:

    can you explain the optical properties of MgO nanoparticles

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AZoNano.com.

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