What is Zinc? Origin / Meaning of the name Zinc
The name originates from a derivation of the German words Zink, Zinken and Zincum meaning "tooth-like, pointed or jagged" and it is believed that these words were used in reference to the metallic zinc crystals which have a needle-like appearance after smelting.
What is Zinc? Periodic Table Group and Classification of the Zinc Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Zinc is classified as a "Transition Metal" which are located in Groups 3 - 12 of the Periodic Table. Elements classified as Transition Metals are generally described as ductile, malleable, and able to conduct electricity and heat. Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals which are detailed in the List of Metals.
The Characteristics and Physical Properties of Zinc
Physical properties of Zinc can usually be observed using our senses or involve a numerical measurement, such as determining its Boiling, Freezing & Melting Points. The Physical properties of Zinc are it is a solid, bluish-white, relatively soft shiny metal. It is neither ductile nor malleable at room temperature, however, when heated it becomes both ductile and malleable and it can then be rolled into sheets.
The Characteristics and Chemical Properties of Zinc
Zinc is a fairly reactive metal that will combine with oxygen and other non-metals. Zinc metal tarnishes in moist air and burns in air to form the white zinc oxide. It is a fair electrical conductor and will react with dilute acids to release hydrogen. Zinc does not react with water.
Facts about the Discovery and History of the Zinc Element
Zinc alloys have been used since ancient times by the Ancient Egyptians, Asians, Greeks, Chinese and Romans. Zinc was identified as a unique metal by the metallurgist Rasaratna Samuccaya in 800. In 1526 Paracelsus (1493-1541), a Swiss born German chemist was the first to publish a reference to the metal as Zincum. In 1546 Zinc was recognized in Europe as a separate metal when the German scientist Georg Agricola (1490 – 1555) observed that a metal that he called “zincum” was produced in mines in Silesia (a region which is now part of Germany and Poland). In 1746 Zinc was isolated from its minerals by the chemist Andreas Marggraf (1709 - 1782) by heating calamine and carbon. Antoine Lavoisier (1743 – 1794) listed of Zinc as an element in 1787.
Facts about Zinc Alloys
Gun-metal - An alloy of copper and zinc
Ormolu - Alloy of copper, zinc, and tin which resembles gold
Bronze - Alloy of copper and tin
Brass - An alloy of two parts copper, one part zinc
What is Zinc? Occurrence of the Zinc Element
Occurrence. Zinc is not abundant in nature. Its compounds have been found in many different countries, but it is not a constituent of common rocks and minerals, and its occurrence is rather local and confined to definite deposits or pockets. It occurs chiefly in the following ores:
Sphalerite (zinc blende) ZnS.
Commonly obtained from zinc blende & calamine
Zinc is the fourth most common metal in use
Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 0.00003%
% in Sun 0.0002%
% in Meteorites 0.018%
% in Earth's Crust 0.0078%
% in Oceans 5×10-7%
% in Humans 0.0033%
Important use of Zinc - Galvanizing other Metals
One of the most important uses of zinc is in galvanizing other metals because zinc resists corrosion. The process of Galvanisation involves applying a thin layer of zinc on the surface of a second metal therefore protecting other metals from corrosion. Galvanized zinc is used in the manufacture of electric fuses, meter cases, roofing, gutters and a variety of household objects.
Medical Uses of Zinc - Health and Treatments
Interesting information is contained in the following table of Medical Uses of Zinc, Health and Treatments. Zinc is used to remedy deficiencies and to prevent infections. It is used to treat a variety of disorders including upper respiratory conditions, acne, anorexia nervosa, macular degeneration, male infertility, and sickle cell anaemia. Zinc compounds are used for a variety of uses including as an astringent and styptic, as a nutritional supplement, skin protector, sunscreen and antifungal cream. The medical uses of Zinc, associated health issues and disorders and treatments using various preparations.
Associated Uses of Zinc
Die castings by the automobile industry
Used to form a wide variety of alloys
Rolled zinc is used as part of the containers of batteries
Zinc oxide is used in paints
Zinc chloride used as a deodorant
Zinc chloride used as a wood preservative
Zinc sulfide is used in luminescents
Medical use to treat rashes