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Magnesium carbide is a hard, refractory and wear-resistant compound composed of magnesium (Mg) and carbon (C). It is found in nature as tetragonal MgC2, orthorhombic Mg2C3, monoclinic Mg2C3 and cubic Mg2C2. It is the second most common alkaline earth metal carbide after silicon carbide. It is used for cutting tools, wear resistant coatings and refractory materials. It is also a key ingredient in many industrial chemicals.
It is widely used as an antacid in the form of magnesium carbonate. It reacts with acid gastric secretions releasing anions that partially neutralize gastric hydrochloric acid. It is also used as a raw material for producing magnesium oxide and in the manufacture of other chemical compounds, such as rubber reinforcement agent, anti-caking agents in food, fire extinguishing powder, cosmetics, and acts as desiccant dust to protect stored products from moisture damage.
It is also a known matting agent in glazes when added at high percentages or employed at lower temperatures where smooth-out is difficult. It has a very small particle size that decreases melt mobility and increases shrinkage. It may also crawl glazes because it decreases the ability of MgO to disperse into the melt. Its low surface tension also promotes crystal growth and increases bubble formation.