Periodic Table -> Zinc
Zinc DetailsZinc Symbol:
ZnZinc Atomic Number:
30Zinc Atomic Weight:
65.38What is Zinc?
(atomic number 30, symbol Z) is a chemical element and transition metal which is commonly found in the Earth's crust. This is a lustrous, reactive metal with a bluish-white color. It was discovered in 1746 by Andreas Marggraf, a German chemist who is known as a pioneer in the field of analytical chemistry.
Isotopes and Chemical and Physical Properties
Zinc is crystalline and brittle at normal temperatures and malleable and ductile at temperatures between 230 F (110 C) and 300 F (150 C). The element reacts with dilute acids and nonmetals. The melting point is 788 F (420 C) and the boiling point is 1664 F (907 C). Zinc combines with a number of elements, including tellurium, nickel, cobalt, magnesium, and tin. The metal also forms alloys with silver, lead, iron, gold, and bismuth. Binary alloys are also formed when zinc reacts with antimony, aluminum, and copper. The element has a hexagonal packed structure and 10 isotopes. Zn-64 is the most abundant one.
The element is found in minerals such as hydrozincite, wurtzite, hemimorphite, smithsonite, and others. It occurs in soil, water, and air, and significant deposits are found in countries such as Iran, the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
Commercial Uses and Applications
This element has a number of commercial applications and is used to make different alloys. It alloys with magnesium, aluminum, and copper, and the alloys are used in the hardware, vehicle manufacturing, and other industries. It is alloyed with tin and lead to produce solder which is used for joining elements such as pipes and electrical components. American pennies are made using zinc in combination with other elements. Zinc also has applications in rubber manufacturing, inks, wallpaper and photocopier paper, cosmetics, and plastics. It is mainly used as a pigment.
Zinc alloys have different applications and are commonly used for bending, roll forming, and deep drawing. One of its compounds, zinc oxide is used in photocopying and varistors due to its good semiconductor properties. Zinc is also added to different mineral, vitamin, and other dietary supplements. It helps strengthen the immune response.
Health and Environmental Effects
Zinc is found in different foods, including wheat germ, lamb and beef, squash and pumpkin seeds, seafood, and spinach. It occurs free in nature and has antioxidant properties. High concentrations at waste sites increase the risk for health problems. Side effects include gastritis, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and other gastrointestinal problems. Other side effects are dyspepsia, stomachache, and unpleasant taste. High concentrations of zinc affect protein metabolism. It is a health hazard for newborn and unborn babies. Exposure occurs through breast milk and blood. At the same time, zinc is used to treat different illnesses and disorders, including anorexia nervosa, peptic ulcers, Hansenís disease, Down syndrome, and Alzheimerís disease. It is also used to treat Crohnís disease, serious head injuries, tinnitus, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. People at risk of zinc deficiency include lactating women, expectant mothers, vegetarians and vegans, and patients with gastrointestinal problems.
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