10 Things You Need To Know About The Chemical Element Zinc
- Author Abir Dom
- Published November 14, 2011
- Word count 508
Zinc, also known as spelter, is a fairly well known element that is represented on the periodic table by the Zn symbol and the atomic number of 30. The majority of us have used zinc in some form or another for a whole variety of ailments, issues and alloys, but many don’t even realize just how commonly this element is used in the everyday world. It is a bluish white to silver-gray, lustrous metal that is diamagnetic.
Of course, there’s a lot more to zinc than that. Read on for 10 more facts you should know about zinc.
Zinc has been used since ancient times, although the majority of it was impure. For instance, in modern day Romania, an archaeological site produced a statuette that could possibly be prehistoric. It was 87.5% zinc.
Zinc has also been found in items dating back to 2500 years ago and, in the 7th century BC, ancient Greece was aware of its use in the production of brass. Romans were using the process to manufacture brass by 30 BC.
Zinc is, at the majority of temperatures, hard and brittle. However, at temperatures of 100 to 150 degrees Celsius, it becomes malleable. The melting point of zinc is relatively low at 419.5 degrees Celsius and, of all transition metals; zinc has the lowest melting point at 907 degrees Celsius.
Zinc, in stable form, is created by the r-process in supernovas.
Zinc comes in at number 24 for the most abundant elements present in the Earth’s crust. Its rate of presence is around 75 ppm. The element is typically present at a rate of 5 – 770 ppm in soil and is present at a rate of 30 ppb in seawater.
Several alloys are partly zinc, including brass and copper, while binary alloys include bismuth, antimony, gold, aluminum, lead, iron, mercury, cobalt, tin, tellurium, silver, sodium magnesium and nickel.
Though not all of the world’s zinc resources are believed to have been identified, those that have been bring the total estimated resources of this element to 1.9 billion tons. The world’s largest reserve is in Iran, while other large deposits exist in the United States, Australia and Canada.
It is estimated that the world’s current known reserves will be depleted by as early as 2027 at our current consumption rate. Throughout history, nearly 346 million tons of zinc have been extracted, but only 109 million tons are still being used.
Today, zinc comes in at number four of the most common metals currently in use and only trails the top three in production by 12 million tons. Nearly 70% of zinc is produced by mining. The remainder is recycled secondary zinc. The largest producer of zinc is Nyrstar.
Zinc has several applications, including being used in batteries and for its anti-corrosion properties. It is also used to create alloys, such as brass, nickel silver, bronze, soft solder and aluminum solder. In addition, it is used in paints and dyes, in nuclear weapons, in agricultural fungicides, as an additive to prevent wear and as a preservative for wood. It’s also widely used in dietary supplements, toothpaste, ointments and toothpaste.
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