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magnesium sulfate monohydrate is a moderately water and acid soluble source of magnesium for uses compatible with sulfates. It is also used to test the soundness of concrete for external sulfate attack (ESA), by immersing specimens in saturated solutions and oven drying to dehydrate them. The internal expansive force resulting from rehydration simulates the effect of water freezing and thawing on the aggregate.
Hydrated magnesium sulfate is also used as a desiccant in organic synthesis, owing to its affinity for water and compatibility with most organic compounds. The anhydrous form is usually treated by precipitation with sulfuric acid to form the magnesium sulfate hydroxide, followed by decantation or distillation to obtain the hydrate. It is also a common raw material in the manufacture of glass, ceramics, and enamels.
A salt of magnesium sulfate monohydrate is commonly known as Epsom salt, and it is a common ingredient in bath products for aches and pains. It is also used as a soil amendment for gardens and to correct magnesium deficiencies in agricultural crops, such as roses, peppers, and potatoes. It is available in gel form for topical application.
A magnesium sulfate salt is sometimes prescribed to pregnant women to prevent preeclampsia or eclampsia by inhibiting the release of cytokines, which cause these conditions. It has also been studied for its potential to protect fetuses from neuroprotection during gestational distress, such as in cases of premature rupture of membranes before 32 weeks’ gestation.