Magnesium Wheelchair

One of the most important features of a good manual wheelchair is it’s weight – you’ll always see the weight as a major selling point by all the manufactures. The reason being is it makes life easier, pushing around in a wheelchair that is lightweight is going to me much easier than one which weighs much more! – more often than not good bespoke manual wheelchairs are made from Aluminum or even Titanium – but what about a Magnesium Wheelchair… there are manufacturers looking at ways to make a magnesium wheelchair and as a material it has all the properties needed – hard wearing and very lightweight!

What is magnesium?

Although magnesium was first originally discovered in 1808 by Sir Humphrey Davy and subsequently produced in 1831 in a metallic form by Antoine Bussy, when it was made during experiments with dehydrated magnesium chloride, electrolytic magnesium was not produced commercially until 1886 when this started in Germany.  Germany remained the sole producer until 1916 when demand for magnesium for use in the production of flares and tracer bullets let to production in France, Great Britain, US, Canada and Russia.

Although world production of magnesium reduced between the two World Wars, Germany continued to produce and, by 1938, their production had increased to 20,000 tonnes, which accounted for 60 per cent of the whole global production.  The US then supported a number of new production facilities and, by 1943, their capacity had increased to over 265,000 tonnes.

Got a question? Email us:

Magnesium production fell again after World War II as producers tried to find ways of extracting the metal economically in a bid to price it competitively with the cost of aluminum.

As magnesium has many similarities with aluminum it can be used as a substitute for most aluminum applications – Magnesium Wheelchairs could be seen as an alternative to Aluminum wheelchairs.  It is still, however, somewhat limited by extraction costs that make it more expensive than aluminum.  At least half of all magnesium is produced in alloys with aluminum, which are used widely in vehicle parts because of their strength, lightness and sparking resistance.  Some car manufacturers use cast aluminum/magnesium alloys in their production of steering columns, steering wheels, instrument panels, pedals and support brackets as well as other numerous parts.

Corrosion resistance and high strength are vital in aerospace alloys, helicopter and also racing car gearboxes and many rely on magnesium alloys.  The beer and drink cans industry is the largest consumer of the metal although only a small amount of magnesium is needed per can.  Magnesium alloys are also used in other productions where a lightweight is critical including production of machinery, chainsaws, magnesium wheelchairs and sporting goods such as fishing reels.