Chemistry - Zinc


  • In the periodic table, zinc is the first element of group 12.

  • The symbol of zinc is ‘Zn’ and the atomic number is ‘30.’

  • In terms of availability, zinc is the 24th most abundant element found in the Earth's crust and it has five stable isotopes.

  • The most common zinc ore is sphalerite (zinc blende), which is a zinc sulfide mineral.

  • Andreas Sigismund Marggraf, the German chemist, first discovered the pure metallic zinc in 1746.

  • Interestingly, alchemists burned zinc in the air and form something different thing and they named that "philosopher's wool" or "white snow."

Salient Features of Zinc

  • Zinc’s color is bluish-white and it is lustrous and diamagnetic metal.

  • Zinc metal is normally hard and brittle; however, at when the temperature increases from 1000C, it becomes malleable.

  • When temperature increases 2100C, then the zinc metal again becomes brittle and can be pulverized easily by beating.

  • Zinc is a conductor of electricity.

Occurrence of Zinc

  • Zinc usually found in association with some other base metals such as copper and lead.

  • Sphalerite is a form of zinc sulfide and it is the most heavily mined ore.

  • Sphalerite contains about 60 to 62% zinc.

Alloys of Zinc

  • Following are the major alloys of zinc −

    • Brass

    • Nickel silver

    • German silver

Compounds of Zinc

  • Following are the major compounds of zinc −

    • Zinc oxide - ZnO

    • Zinc sulfide - ZnS

    • Zinc halides - ZnF2

    • Zinc nitrate - Zn(NO3)2

    • Zinc chlorate - Zn(ClO3)2

    • Zinc sulfate - ZnSO4

    • Zinc phosphate - Zn3(PO4)2

    • Zinc molybdate - ZnMoO4

    • Zinc chromate - ZnCrO4

    • Zinc arsenite - Zn(AsO2)2

    • Zinc acetate - Zn(O2CCH3)2

Uses of Zinc

  • Zinc is one of the most important elements for the public health.

  • Zinc is largely used as an anti-corrosion agent and coating of iron and steel materials.

  • Zinc is commonly used as the anode or fuel of the zinc-air battery.

  • Zinc oxide is extensively used as a white pigment (see the image given below) in paints.

Zinc Component
  • Zinc oxide is also used as a catalyst in manufacturing rubber.

  • Zinc is an essentially required element for our health; it is normally used as supplementary materials in the forms as zinc oxide, zinc acetate, or zinc gluconate.

  • Zinc is normally antioxidant material.

  • Zinc deficiency in human body may cause major depressive disorder.

  • After the bodily injury, zinc is used to speed up the healing process.

  • Zinc pyrithione is commonly used in shampoos to prevent the dandruff.

  • Chelated zinc is usually used in toothpastes and mouthwashes (liquid), as it prevents the bad breath.

  • Zinc also protects skin from sunburn, therefore, it is used in body lotions.