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Zinc,or spelter (which may also refer to zinc alloys), is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2.HP Pavilion DV4-1199EA Battery

Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and has five stable isotopes. The most common zinc ore issphalerite, a zinc sulfide. The largest mineable amounts are found in Australia, Asia, and the United States. Zinc production includes froth flotation of the ore, roasting, and final extraction using electricity (electrowinning).HP Pavilion DV4-1199EE Battery

Brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc, has been used since at least the 10th century BC. Impure zinc metal was not produced in large scale until the 13th century in India, while the metal was unknown to Europe until the end of the 16th century. Alchemists burned zinc in air to form what they called "philosopher's wool" or "white snow".HP Pavilion DV4-1199EF Battery

The element was probably named by the alchemist Paracelsus after the German word Zinke. German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf is normally given credit for discovering pure metallic zinc in 1746. Work by Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Voltauncovered the electrochemical properties of zinc by 1800.HP Pavilion DV4-1199EO Battery

Corrosion-resistant zinc plating of steel (hot-dip galvanizing) is the major application for zinc. Other applications are in batteries and alloys, such as brass. A variety of zinc compounds are commonly used, such as zinc carbonate and zinc gluconate (as dietary supplements), zinc chloride (in deodorants), zinc pyrithione (anti-dandruff shampoos), zinc sulfide (in luminescent paints), and zinc methyl or zinc diethyl in the organic laboratory.HP Pavilion DV4-1199EP Battery

Zinc is an essential mineral of "exceptional biologic and public health importance". Zinc deficiency affects about two billion people in the developing world and is associated with many diseases. In children it causes growth retardation, delayed sexual maturation, infection susceptibility, and diarrhea, contributing to the death of about 800,000 children worldwide per year.HP Pavilion DV4-1199ER Battery

Enzymes with a zinc atom in the reactive center are widespread in biochemistry, such as alcohol dehydrogenase in humans. Consumption of excess zinc can cause ataxia, lethargy and copper deficiency.

Physical properties

Zinc, also referred to in nonscientific contexts as spelter, is a bluish-white, lustrous, diamagnetic metal, though most common commercial grades of the metal have a dull finish.HP Pavilion DV4-1199ES Battery

It is somewhat less dense than iron and has a hexagonal crystal structure. 

The metal is hard and brittle at most temperatures but becomes malleable between 100 and 150 °C. Above 210 °C, the metal becomes brittle again and can be pulverized by beating. Zinc is a fair conductor of electricity.HP Pavilion DV4-1199ET Battery

For a metal, zinc has relatively low melting (419.5 °C, 787.1 F) and boiling points (907 °C). Its melting point is the lowest of all thetransition metals aside from mercury and cadmium. 

Many alloys contain zinc, including brass, an alloy of zinc and copper.HP Pavilion DV4-1200 CTO Battery

Other metals long known to form binary alloys with zinc are aluminium, antimony, bismuth, gold, iron, lead, mercury, silver, tin, magnesium, cobalt, nickel, tellurium andsodium. While neither zinc nor zirconium are ferromagnetic, their alloy ZrZn2 exhibits ferromagnetism below 35 K.HP Pavilion DV4-1200 Battery


Zinc makes up about 75 ppm (0.0075%) of the Earth's crust, making it the 24th most abundant element. Soil contains 5–770 ppm of zinc with an average of 64 ppm. Seawater has only 30 ppb zinc and the atmosphere contains 0.1–4 µg/m3.HP Pavilion DV4-1201AU Battery

The element is normally found in association with other base metals such as copper and lead inores.[11] Zinc is a chalcophile, meaning the element has a low affinity for oxides and prefers to bond with sulfides. Chalcophiles formed as the crust solidified under the reducing conditions of the early Earth's atmosphere.HP Pavilion DV4-1201TU Battery

 Sphalerite, which is a form of zinc sulfide, is the most heavily mined zinc-containing ore because its concentrate contains 60–62% zinc. 

Other minerals, from which zinc is extracted, include smithsonite (zinc carbonate), hemimorphite(zinc silicate), wurtzite (another zinc sulfide), and sometimes hydrozincite (basic zinc carbonate).HP Pavilion DV4-1201TX Battery

With the exception of wurtzite, all these other minerals were formed as a result of weathering processes on the primordial zinc sulfides. 

Identified world zinc resources total about 1.9 billion tonnes.[14] Large deposits are in Australia, Canada and the United States with the largest reserves in Iran.HP Pavilion DV4-1202AU Battery

At the current rate of consumption, these reserves are estimated to be depleted sometime between 2027 and 2055. About 346 million tonnes have been extracted throughout history to 2002, and one estimate found that about 109 million tonnes of that remains in use.HP Pavilion DV4-1202TU Battery

Five isotopes of zinc occur in nature. 64Zn is the most abundant isotope (48.63% natural abundance). This isotope has such a long half-life, at 4.3×1018 a,that its radioactivity can be ignored. Similarly, 70Zn (0.6%), with a half-life of1.3×1016 a is not usually considered to be radioactive.HP Pavilion DV4-1202TX Battery

The other isotopes found in nature are 66Zn (28%), 67Zn (4%) and 68Zn(19%).

Several dozen radioisotopes have been characterized. 65Zn, which has a half-life of 243.66 days, is the most long-lived isotope, followed by 72Zn with a half-life of 46.5 hours.[20] Zinc has 10 nuclear isomers.HP Pavilion DV4-1203AU Battery

69mZn has the longest half-life, 13.76 h.[20] The superscript m indicates a metastable isotope. The nucleus of a metastable isotope is in an excited state and will return to the ground state by emitting a photon in the form of a gamma ray. 61Zn has three excited states and 73Zn has two.[23] The isotopes 65Zn, 71Zn, 77Zn and 78Zn each have only one excited state.HP Pavilion DV4-1203TU Battery

The most common decay mode of a radioisotope of zinc with a mass number lower than 66 is electron capture. The decay product resulting from electron capture is an isotope of copper. 

The most common decay mode of a radioisotope of zinc with mass number higher than 66 is beta decay (β), which produces an isotope of gallium.HP Pavilion DV4-1203TX Battery


Zinc is too large and heavy to form in stars using the silicon burning process. The stable form of zinc is created in supernovas via the r-process.


Zinc has an electron configuration of [Ar]3d104s2 and is a member of the group 12 of the periodic table.HP Pavilion DV4-1204AU Battery

It is a moderately reactive metal and strong reducing agent. The surface of the pure metal tarnishes quickly, eventually forming a protective passivating layer of the basic zinc carbonate, Zn5(OH)6(CO3)2, by reaction with atmospheric carbon dioxide.[25] This layer helps prevent further reaction with air and water.HP Pavilion DV4-1204TU Battery

Zinc burns in air with a bright bluish-green flame, giving off fumes of zinc oxide.  Zinc reacts readily with acids, alkalis and other non-metals. Extremely pure zinc reacts only slowly at room temperature with acids. Strong acids, such as hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, can remove the passivating layer and subsequent reaction with water releases hydrogen gas.HP Pavilion DV4-1204TX Battery

The chemistry of zinc is dominated by the +2 oxidation state. When compounds in this oxidation state are formed the outer shell selectrons are lost, which yields a bare zinc ion with the electronic configuration [Ar]3d10.[28] This allows for the formation of four covalent bonds by accepting four electron pairs and thus obeying the octet rule.HP Pavilion DV4-1205AU Battery

The stereochemistry is therefore tetrahedral and the bonds may be described as being formed from sp3 hybrid orbitals on the zinc ion.[29] In aqueous solution an octahedral complex, [Zn(H2O)6]2+ is the predominant species.HP Pavilion DV4-1205TU Battery

The volatilization of zinc in combination with zinc chloride at temperatures above 285 °C indicates the formation of Zn2Cl2, a zinc compound with a +1 oxidation state.[26] No compounds of zinc in oxidation states other than +1 or +2 are known.[31]Calculations indicate that a zinc compound with the oxidation state of +4 is unlikely to exist.HP Pavilion DV4-1205TX Battery

Zinc chemistry is similar to the chemistry of the late first-row transition metals nickel and copper, though it has a filled d-shell, so its compounds arediamagnetic and mostly colorless. The ionic radii of zinc and magnesium happen to be nearly identical. Because of this some of their salts have the same crystal structure and in circumstances where ionic radius is a determining factor zinc and magnesium chemistries have much in common.HP Pavilion DV4-1206TU Battery

Otherwise there is little similarity. Zinc tends to form bonds with a greater degree of covalency and it forms much more stable complexes with N- and S- donors.[33] Complexes of zinc are mostly 4- or 6- coordinate although 5-coordinate complexes are known.HP Pavilion DV4-1206TX Battery

See also Clemmensen reduction.


Binary compounds of zinc are known for most of the metalloids and all the nonmetals except the noble gases. The oxide ZnO is a white powder that is nearly insoluble in neutral aqueous solutions, but is amphoteric, dissolving in both strong basic and acidic solutions.HP Pavilion DV4-1207TU Battery

 The other chalcogenides (ZnS, ZnSe, and ZnTe) have varied applications in electronics and optics.[35] Pnictogenides (Zn3N2, Zn3P2, Zn3As2 and Zn3Sb2), the peroxide (ZnO2), the hydride (ZnH2), and the carbide (ZnC2) are also known.HP Pavilion DV4-1207TX Battery

 Of the four halides, ZnF2 has the most ionic character, whereas the others (ZnCl2, ZnBr2, and ZnI2) have relatively low melting points and are considered to have more covalent character. 

In weak basic solutions containing Zn2+ ions, the hydroxide Zn(OH)2 forms as a white precipitate.HP Pavilion DV4-1208TU Battery

In stronger alkaline solutions, this hydroxide is dissolved to form zincates ([Zn(OH)4]2−).[26] The nitrate Zn(NO3)2, chlorate Zn(ClO3)2, sulfate ZnSO4, phosphate Zn3(PO4)2, molybdate ZnMoO4, cyanide Zn(CN)2, arsenite Zn(AsO2)2, arsenate Zn(AsO4)2·8H2O and the chromate ZnCrO4 (one of the few colored zinc compounds) are a few examples of other common inorganic compounds of zinc.HP Pavilion DV4-1208TX Battery

One of the simplest examples of an organic compound of zinc is the acetate (Zn(O2CCH3)2).

Organozinc compounds are those that contain zinc–carbon covalent bonds. Diethylzinc ((C2H5)2Zn) is a reagent in synthetic chemistry.HP Pavilion DV4-1209TU Battery

It was first reported in 1848 from the reaction of zinc and ethyl iodide, and was the first compound known to contain a metal–carbon sigma bond.[42] Decamethyldizincocene contains a strong zinc–zinc bond at room temperature.

Ancient use

Various isolated examples of the use of impure zinc in ancient times have been discovered.HP Pavilion DV4-1209TX Battery

 A possibly prehistoric statuette containing 87.5% zinc was found in a Dacian archaeological site in Transylvania (modern Romania).[44] Ornaments made of alloys that contain 80–90% zinc with lead, iron, antimony, and other metals making up the remainder, have been found that are 2500 years old.HP Pavilion DV4-1210EA Battery

The Berne zinc tablet is a votive plaque dating to Roman Gaul made of an alloy that is mostly zinc.[45] Also, some ancient writings appear to mention zinc. The Greek historian Strabo, in a passage taken from an earlier writer of the 4th century BC, mentions "drops of false silver", which when mixed with copper make brass.HP Pavilion DV4-1210EF Battery

This may refer to small quantities of zinc by-product of smelting sulfide ores.[46] The Charaka Samhita, thought to have been written in 500 BC or before, mentions a metal which, when oxidized, produces pushpanjan, thought to be zinc oxide.HP Pavilion DV4-1210EO Battery

Zinc ores were used to make the zinc–copper alloy brass many centuries prior to the discovery of zinc as a separate element. Palestinian brass from the 14th to 10th centuries BC contains 23% zinc. The Book of Genesis, written between the 10th and 5th centuries BC, mentions (in the King James translation)HP Pavilion DV4-1210ER Battery

Tubal-cain as an "instructor in every artificer in brass and iron" (Genesis 4:22), but since the word nechosheth, translated as "brass", also means "copper", the significance of this is not clear. Knowledge of how to produce brass spread to Ancient Greece by the 7th century BC but few varieties were made.HP Pavilion DV4-1210TU Battery

The manufacture of brass was known to the Romans by about 30 BC.[51] They made brass by heating powdered calamine (zinc silicate or carbonate), charcoal and copper together in a crucible.[51] The resulting calamine brass was then either cast or hammered into shape and was used in weaponry.HP Pavilion DV4-1210TX Battery

Some coins struck by Romans in the Christian era are made of what is probably calamine brass. In the West, impure zinc was known from antiquity to exist in the remnants in melting ovens, but it was usually discarded, as it was thought to be worthless.HP Pavilion DV4-1211EA Battery

Zinc mines at Zawar, near Udaipur in India, have been active since the Mauryan period in the late 1st millennium BC. The smelting of metallic zinc here however appears to have begun around the 12th century AD. One estimate is that this location produced an estimated million tonnes of metallic zinc and zinc oxide from the 12th to 16th centuries.HP Pavilion DV4-1211TU Battery

Another estimate gives a total production of 60,000 tonnes of metallic zinc over this period.[55] The Rasaratna Samuccaya, written in approximately the 14th century AD, mentions two types of zinc-containing ores; one used for metal extraction and another used for medicinal purposes.HP Pavilion DV4-1211TX Battery

Early studies and naming

Zinc was distinctly recognized as a metal under the designation of Fasada in the medical Lexicon ascribed to the Hindu king Madanapala and written about the year 1374. Smelting and extraction of impure zinc by reducing calamine with wool and other organic substances was accomplished in the 13th century in India.HP Pavilion DV4-1212LA Battery

The Chinese did not learn of the technique until the 17th century.

Alchemists burned zinc metal in air and collected the resulting zinc oxide on a condenser. Some alchemists called this zinc oxidelana philosophica, Latin for "philosopher's wool", because it collected in wooly tufts while others thought it looked like white snow and named it nix album.HP Pavilion DV4-1212TU Battery

The name of the metal was probably first documented by Paracelsus, a Swiss-born German alchemist, who referred to the metal as "zincum" or "zinken" in his book Liber Mineralium II, in the 16th century. The word is probably derived from the Germanzinke, and supposedly meant "tooth-like, pointed or jagged" (metallic zinc crystals have a needle-like appearance).HP Pavilion DV4-1212TX Battery

 Zink could also imply "tin-like" because of its relation to German zinn meaning tin. Yet another possibility is that the word is derived from the Persian word سنگ seng meaning stone. The metal was also called Indian tin, tutanego, calamine, and spinter.HP Pavilion DV4-1213LA Battery

German metallurgist Andreas Libavius received a quantity of what he called "calay" of Malabar from a cargo ship captured from the Portuguese in 1596. Libavius described the properties of the sample, which may have been zinc. Zinc was regularly imported to Europe from the Orient in the 17th and early 18th centuries,[58] but was at times very expensive.HP Pavilion DV4-1213TU Battery

Isolation of the pure element

The isolation of metallic zinc in the West may have been achieved independently by several people. Postlewayt's Universal Dictionary, a contemporary source giving technological information in Europe, did not mention zinc before 1751 but the element was studied before then.HP Pavilion DV4-1213TX Battery

Flemish metallurgist P.M. de Respour reported that he extracted metallic zinc from zinc oxide in 1668.[13] By the turn of the century,Étienne François Geoffroy described how zinc oxide condenses as yellow crystals on bars of iron placed above zinc ore being smelted.HP Pavilion DV4-1214LA Battery

In Britain, John Lane is said to have carried out experiments to smelt zinc, probably at Landore, prior to his bankruptcy in 1726. 

In 1738, William Champion patented in Great Britain a process to extract zinc from calamine in a vertical retort style smelter.HP Pavilion DV4-1214TU Battery

His technology was somewhat similar to that used at Zawar zinc mines in Rajasthan but there is no evidence that he visited the Orient. Champion's process was used through 1851. 

German chemist Andreas Marggraf normally gets credit for discovering pure metallic zinc even though Swedish chemist Anton von Swab distilled zinc from calamine four years before.HP Pavilion DV4-1214TX Battery

In his 1746 experiment, Marggraf heated a mixture of calamine and charcoal in a closed vessel without copper to obtain a metal. This procedure became commercially practical by 1752. 

 Later work

William Champion's brother, John, patented a process in 1758 for calcining zinc sulfide into an oxide usable in the retort process.HP Pavilion DV4-1215EF Battery

Prior to this only calamine could be used to produce zinc. In 1798, Johann Christian Ruberg improved on the smelting process by building the first horizontal retort smelter. Jean-Jacques Daniel Dony built a different kind of horizontal zinc smelter in Belgium, which processed even more zinc.HP Pavilion DV4-1215TU Battery

Italian doctor Luigi Galvani discovered in 1780 that connecting the spinal cord of a freshly dissected frog to an iron rail attached by a brass hook caused the frog's leg to twitch. He incorrectly thought he had discovered an ability of nerves and muscles to create electricity and called the effect "animal electricity".HP Pavilion DV4-1215TX Battery

 The galvanic cell and the process of galvanization were both named for Luigi Galvani and these discoveries paved the way for electrical batteries, galvanization and cathodic protection.

Galvani's friend, Alessandro Volta, continued researching this effect and invented the Voltaic pile in 1800.HP Pavilion DV4-1216TU Battery

The basic unit of Volta's pile was a simplified galvanic cell, which is made of a plate of copper and a plate of zinc connected to each other externally and separated by an electrolyte. These were stacked in series to make the Voltaic cell, which in turn produced electricity by directingelectrons from the zinc to the copper and allowing the zinc to corrode.HP Pavilion DV4-1216TX Battery

The non-magnetic character of zinc and its lack of color in solution delayed discovery of its importance to biochemistry and nutrition. This changed in 1940 when carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme that scrubs carbon dioxide from blood, was shown to have zinc in its active site.HP Pavilion DV4-1217LA Battery

The digestive enzyme carboxypeptidase became the second known zinc-containing enzyme in 1955.

Mining and processing

Zinc is the fourth most common metal in use, trailing only iron, aluminium, and copper with an annual production of about 12 million tonnes.HP Pavilion DV4-1217TX Battery

The world's largest zinc producer is Nyrstar, a merger of the Australian OZ Minerals and the BelgianUmicore. About 70% of the world's zinc originates from mining, while the remaining 30% comes from recycling secondary zinc. Commercially pure zinc is known as Special High Grade, often abbreviated SHG, and is 99.995% pure.HP Pavilion DV4-1218TX Battery

Worldwide, 95% of the zinc is mined from sulfidic ore deposits, in which sphalerite ZnS is nearly always mixed with the sulfides of copper, lead and iron. There are zinc mines throughout the world, with the main mining areas being China, Australia and Peru. China produced 29% of the global zinc output in 2010.HP Pavilion DV4-1219TX Battery

Zinc metal is produced using extractive metallurgy. After grinding the ore, froth flotation, which selectively separates minerals from gangue by taking advantage of differences in their hydrophobicity, is used to get an ore concentrate.HP Pavilion DV4-1220BR Battery

A final concentration of zinc of about 50% is reached by this process with the remainder of the concentrate being sulfur (32%), iron (13%), and SiO2 (5%).[79]

Roasting converts the zinc sulfide concentrate produced during processing to zinc oxide:HP Pavilion DV4-1220TX Battery

2 ZnS + 3 O2 → 2 ZnO + 2 SO2

The sulfur dioxide is used for the production of sulfuric acid, which is necessary for the leaching process. If deposits of zinc carbonate, zinc silicate or zinc spinel, like the Skorpion Deposit in Namibia are used for zinc production the roasting can be omitted.HP Pavilion DV4-1220US Battery

For further processing two basic methods are used: pyrometallurgy or electrowinning. Pyrometallurgy processing reduces zinc oxide with carbon or carbon monoxide at 950 °C (1,740 °F) into the metal, which is distilled as zinc vapor.[81] The zinc vapor is collected in a condenser.HP Pavilion DV4-1221TX Battery

The below set of equations demonstrate this process: 

2 ZnO + C → 2 Zn + CO2

2 ZnO + 2 CO → 2 Zn + 2 CO2

Electrowinning processing leaches zinc from the ore concentrate by sulfuric acid:HP Pavilion DV4-1222LA Battery

ZnO + H2SO4 → ZnSO4 + H2O

After this step electrolysis is used to produce zinc metal. 

2 ZnSO4 + 2 H2O → 2 Zn + 2 H2SO4 + O2

The sulfuric acid regenerated is recycled to the leaching step.HP Pavilion DV4-1222NR Battery

 Environmental impact

The production for sulfidic zinc ores produces large amounts of sulfur dioxide and cadmium vapor. Smelter slag and other residues of process also contain significant amounts of heavy metals.HP Pavilion DV4-1222TX Battery

About 1.1 million tonnes of metallic zinc and 130 thousand tonnes of lead were mined and smelted in the Belgian towns of La Calamine andPlombières between 1806 and 1882. The dumps of the past mining operations leach significant amounts of zinc and cadmium, and, as a result, the sediments of theGeul River contain significant amounts of heavy metals.HP Pavilion DV4-1223LA Battery

About two thousand years ago emissions of zinc from mining and smelting totaled 10 thousand tonnes a year. After increasing 10-fold from 1850, zinc emissions peaked at 3.4 million tonnes per year in the 1980s and declined to 2.7 million tonnes in the 1990s, although a 2005 study of the Arctic troposphere found that the concentrations there did not reflect the decline.HP Pavilion DV4-1223TX Battery

 Anthropogenic and natural emissions occur at a ratio of 20 to 1. 

Levels of zinc in rivers flowing through industrial or mining areas can be as high as 20 ppm. Effective sewage treatment greatly reduces this; treatment along the Rhine, for example, has decreased zinc levels to 50 ppb.HP Pavilion DV4-1224LA Battery

Concentrations of zinc as low as 2 ppm adversely affects the amount of oxygen that fish can carry in their blood. 

Soils contaminated with zinc through the mining of zinc-containing ores, refining, or where zinc-containing sludge is used as fertilizer, can contain several grams of zinc per kilogram of dry soil.HP Pavilion DV4-1224TX Battery

 Levels of zinc in excess of 500 ppm in soil interfere with the ability of plants to absorb other essential metals, such as iron andmanganese. Zinc levels of 2000 ppm to 180,000 ppm (18%) have been recorded in some soil samples.HP Pavilion DV4-1225DX Battery

Anti-corrosion and batteries

The metal is most commonly used as an anti-corrosion agent. Galvanization, which is the coating of iron or steel to protect the metals against corrosion, is the most familiar form of using zinc in this way. In 2009 in the United States, 55% or 893 thousand tonnes of the zinc metal was used for galvanization.HP Pavilion DV4-1225EE Battery

Zinc is more reactive than iron or steel and thus will attract almost all local oxidation until it completely corrodes away. A protective surface layer of oxide and carbonate (Zn5(OH)6(CO3)2) forms as the zinc corrodes. This protection lasts even after the zinc layer is scratched but degrades through time as the zinc corrodes away.HP Pavilion DV4-1225LA Battery

The zinc is applied electrochemically or as molten zinc by hot-dip galvanizing or spraying. Galvanization is used on chain-link fencing, guard rails, suspension bridges, lightposts, metal roofs, heat exchangers, and car bodies. 

The relative reactivity of zinc and its ability to attract oxidation to itself makes it an efficient sacrificial anode incathodic protection (CP).HP Pavilion DV4-1225TX Battery

For example, cathodic protection of a buried pipeline can be achieved by connecting anodes made from zinc to the pipe. Zinc acts as the anode (negative terminus) by slowly corroding away as it passes electric current to the steel pipeline. Zinc is also used to cathodically protect metals that are exposed to sea water from corrosion.HP Pavilion DV4-1226TX Battery

A zinc disc attached to a ship's iron rudder will slowly corrode while the rudder stays unattacked. Other similar uses include a plug of zinc attached to a propeller or the metal protective guard for the keel of the ship.

With a standard electrode potential (SEP) of −0.76 volts, zinc is used as an anode material for batteries.HP Pavilion DV4-1227LA Battery

 (More reactive lithium (SEP −3.04 V) is used for anodes in lithium batteries ). Powdered zinc is used in this way in alkaline batteries and sheets of zinc metal form the cases for and act as anodes in zinc–carbon batteries.[94][95] Zinc is used as the anode or fuel of the zinc-air battery/fuel cell.HP Pavilion DV4-1227TX Battery


A widely used alloy which contains zinc is brass, in which copper is alloyed with anywhere from 3% to 45% zinc, depending upon the type of brass. Brass is generally more ductile and stronger than copper and has superior corrosion resistance. These properties make it useful in communication equipment, hardware, musical instruments, and water valves.HP Pavilion DV4-1227US Battery

Other widely used alloys that contain zinc include nickel silver, typewriter metal, soft and aluminium solder, and commercialbronze.[4] Zinc is also used in contemporary pipe organs as a substitute for the traditional lead/tin alloy in pipes.HP Pavilion DV4-1228CA Battery

Alloys of 85–88% zinc, 4–10% copper, and 2–8% aluminium find limited use in certain types of machine bearings. Zinc is the primary metal used in making American one cent coins since 1982.[100] The zinc core is coated with a thin layer of copper to give the impression of a copper coin.HP Pavilion DV4-1228LA Battery

 In 1994, 33,200 tonnes (36,600 short tons) of zinc were used to produce 13.6 billion pennies in the United States. 

Alloys of primarily zinc with small amounts of copper, aluminium, and magnesium are useful in die casting as well as spin casting, especially in the automotive, electrical, and hardware industries.HP Pavilion DV4-1228TX Battery

These alloys are marketed under the nameZamak. An example of this is zinc aluminium. The low melting point together with the low viscosity of the alloy makes the production of small and intricate shapes possible. The low working temperature leads to rapid cooling of the cast products and therefore fast assembly is possible.HP Pavilion DV4-1229LA Battery

Another alloy, marketed under the brand name Prestal, contains 78% zinc and 22% aluminium and is reported to be nearly as strong as steel but as malleable as plastic. This superplasticity of the alloy allows it to be molded using die casts made of ceramics and cement.HP Pavilion DV4-1229TX Battery

Similar alloys with the addition of a small amount of lead can be cold-rolled into sheets. An alloy of 96% zinc and 4% aluminium is used to make stamping dies for low production run applications for which ferrous metal dies would be too expensive.HP Pavilion DV4-1230BR Battery

In building facades, roofs or other applications in which zinc is used assheet metal and for methods such as deep drawing, roll forming or bending, zinc alloys with titanium and copper are used.[106] Unalloyed zinc is too brittle for these kinds of manufacturing processes.HP Pavilion DV4-1230TX Battery

As a dense, inexpensive, easily-worked material, zinc is used as a lead replacement. In the wake of lead concerns, zinc appears in lab weights, tire weights, and flywheels. 

Cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) is a semiconductive alloy that can be divided into an array of small sensing devices.HP Pavilion DV4-1231TX Battery

These devices are similar to an integrated circuit and can detect the energy of incoming gamma ray photons.[109] When placed behind an absorbing mask, the CZT sensor array can also be used to determine the direction of the rays.[109]

 Other industrial uses

Roughly one quarter of all zinc output, in the United States (2009), is consumed in the form of zinc compounds;HP Pavilion DV4-1232TX Battery

a variety of which are used industrially. Zinc oxide is widely used as a white pigment in paints, and as a catalyst in the manufacture of rubber. It is also used as a heat disperser for the rubber and acts to protect its polymers from ultraviolet radiation (the same UV protection is conferred to plastics containing zinc oxide).HP Pavilion DV4-1233TX Battery

The semiconductor properties of zinc oxide make it useful invaristors and photocopying products.[110] The zinc zinc-oxide cycle is a two step thermochemical process based on zinc and zinc oxide for hydrogen production.[111]

Zinc chloride is often added to lumber as a fire retardant[112] and can be used as a wood preservative.HP Pavilion DV4-1234TX Battery

It is also used to make other chemicals.[112] Zinc methyl (Zn(CH3)2) is used in a number of organic syntheses.[114] Zinc sulfide (ZnS) is used inluminescent pigments such as on the hands of clocks, X-ray and television screens, and luminous paints.[115] Crystals of ZnS are used in lasers that operate in the mid-infrared part of the spectrum.[HP Pavilion DV4-1235EE Battery

 Zinc sulfate is a chemical in dyes and pigments.[112]Zinc pyrithione is used in antifouling paints.[117]

Zinc powder is sometimes used as a propellant in model rockets.[118] When a compressed mixture of 70% zinc and 30% sulfur powder is ignited there is a violent chemical reaction.[118] This produces zinc sulfide, together with large amounts of hot gas, heat, and light.[118] Zinc sheet metal is used to make zinc bars.HP Pavilion DV4-1235EI Battery

Zinc has been proposed as a salting material for nuclear weapons (cobalt is another, better-known salting material). A jacket of isotopically enriched 64Zn, irradiated by the intense high-energy neutron flux from an exploding thermonuclear weapon, would transmute into the radioactive isotope 65Zn with a half-life of 244 days and produce massive gamma radiationHP Pavilion DV4-1235TX Battery

, significantly increasing the radioactivity of the weapon's fallout for several days.[120] Such a weapon is not known to have ever been built, tested, or used.[120] 65Zn is also used as a tracer to study how alloys that contain zinc wear out, or the path and the role of zinc in organisms.HP Pavilion DV4-1236TX Battery

Zinc dithiocarbamate complexes are used as agricultural fungicides; these include Zineb, Metiram, Propineb and Ziram.[122] Zinc naphthenate is used as wood preservative.[123] Zinc, in the form of ZDDP, is also used as an anti-wear additive for metal parts in engine oil.HP Pavilion DV4-1237TX Battery

Dietary supplement

Zinc is included in most single tablet over-the-counter daily vitamin and mineral supplements. Preparations include zinc oxide, zinc acetate, and zinc gluconate. It is believed to possess antioxidant properties, which may protect against accelerated aging of the skin and muscles of the body; studies differ as to its effectiveness.HP Pavilion DV4-1238TX Battery

Zinc also helps speed up the healing process after an injury. 

The efficacy of zinc compounds when used to reduce the duration or severity of cold symptoms is controversial. A 2011 systematic review concludes that supplementation yields a mild decrease in duration and severity of cold symptoms.HP Pavilion DV4-1239TX Battery

Zinc preparations can protect against sunburn in the summer and windburn in the winter. Applied thinly to a baby's diaper area (perineum) with each diaper change, it can protect against diaper rash.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study determined that zinc can be part of an effective treatment forage-related macular degeneration.HP Pavilion DV4-1240TX Battery

Zinc supplementation is an effective treatment foracrodermatitis enteropathica, a genetic disorder affecting zinc absorption that was previously fatal to babies born with it. 

Zinc lactate is used in toothpaste to prevent halitosis. Zinc pyrithione is widely applied in shampoos because of its anti-dandruff function.HP Pavilion DV4-1241TX Battery

Zinc ions are effective antimicrobial agents even at low concentrations. Gastroenteritis is strongly attenuated by ingestion of zinc, and this effect could be due to direct antimicrobial action of the zinc ions in the gastrointestinal tract, or to the absorption of the zinc and re-release from immune cells (all granulocytes secrete zinc), or both.HP Pavilion DV4-1242TX Battery

In 2011, researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice reported that dietary zinc supplements can mask the presence of drugs in urine. Similar claims have been made in web forums on that topic. 

Although not yet tested as a therapy in humans, a growing body of evidence indicates that zinc may preferentially kill prostate cancer cells.HP Pavilion DV4-1243TX Battery

 Because zinc naturally homes to the prostate and because the prostate is accessible with relatively non-invasive procedures, its potential as a chemotherapeutic agent in this type of cancer has shown promise. However, other studies have demonstrated that chronic use of zinc supplements in excess of the recommended dosage may actually increase the chance of developing prostate cancer, also likely due to the natural buildup of this heavy metal in the prostate.HP Pavilion DV4-1244TX Battery

Use in Organic chemistry

There are many important organozinc compounds. Organozinc chemistry is the science of organozinc compounds describing their physical properties, synthesis and reactions. HP Pavilion DV4-1245BR Battery

Among important applications is the Frankland-Duppa Reaction in which an oxalate ester(ROCOCOOR) reacts with an alkyl halide R'X, zinc and hydrochloric acid to the α-hydroxycarboxylic esters RR'COHCOOR , the Reformatskii reaction which converts α-halo-esters and aldehydes to β-hydroxy-esters,HP Pavilion DV4-1245TX Battery

the Simmons-Smith reaction in which the carbenoid (iodomethyl)zinc iodide reacts with alkene(or alkyne) and converts them to cyclopropane, the Addition reaction of organozinc compounds to carbonyl compounds. The Barbier reaction (1899) which is the zinc equivalent of the magnesium Grignard reaction and is better of the two.HP Pavilion DV4-1246TX Battery

 In presence of just about any water the formation of the organomagnesium halide will fail whereas the Barbier reaction can even take place in water. On the downside organozincs are much less nucleophilic than Grignards, are expensive and difficult to handle.HP Pavilion DV4-1247TX Battery

 Commercially available diorganozinc compounds are dimethylzinc,diethylzinc and diphenylzinc. In one study the active organozinc compound is obtained from much cheaper organobromine precursors:

The Negishi coupling is also an important reaction for the formation of new carbon carbon bonds between unsaturated carbon atoms in alkenes, arenes and alkynes.HP Pavilion DV4-1248TX Battery

The catalysts are nickel and palladium. A key step in the catalytic cycle is a transmetalation in which a zinc halide exchanges its organic substituent for another halogen with the palladium (nickel) metal center. The Fukuyama coupling is another coupling reaction but this one with a thioester as reactant forming a ketone.HP Pavilion DV4-1249TX Battery

Organozinc compounds usually contain zinc in +2 oxidation state, but compound in +1 state are also known such as decamethyldizincocene.

 Biological role

Zinc is an essential trace element, necessary for plants,[84] animals,[145] and microorganisms.HP Pavilion DV4-1250TX Battery

 Zinc is found in nearly 100 specific enzymes  (other sources say 300), serves as structural ions in transcription factors and is stored and transferred in metallothioneins.[148] It is "typically the second most abundant transition metal in organisms" after iron and it is the only metal which appears in all enzyme classes.HP Pavilion DV4-1251TX Battery

In proteins, Zn ions are often coordinated to the amino acid side chains of aspartic acid, glutamic acid, cysteine and histidine.[149]The theoretical and computational description of this zinc binding in proteins (as well as that of other transition metals) is difficult.HP Pavilion DV4-1252TX Battery

There are 2–4 grams of zinc[150] distributed throughout the human body. Most zinc is in the brain, muscle, bones, kidney, and liver, with the highest concentrations in the prostate and parts of the eye.[151] Semen is particularly rich in zinc, which is a key factor in prostate gland function and reproductive organ growth.HP Pavilion DV4-1253TX Battery

In humans, zinc plays "ubiquitous biological roles".[1] It interacts with "a wide range of organic ligands",[1] and has roles in the metabolism of RNA and DNA,signal transduction, and gene expression. It also regulates apoptosis. A 2006 study estimated that about 10% of human proteins (2800) potentially bind zinc,HP Pavilion DV4-1254TX Battery

 in addition to hundreds which transport and traffic zinc; a similar in silico study in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana found 2367 zinc-related proteins.[84]

In the brain, zinc is stored in specific synaptic vesicles by glutamatergic neurons[153] and can "modulate brain excitability".[1] It plays a key role in synaptic plasticity and so in learning.HP Pavilion DV4-1255TX Battery

However it has been called "the brain's dark horse"[153] since it also can be a neurotoxin, suggesting zinc homeostasis plays a critical role in normal functioning of the brain and central nervous system.[153]


Zinc is an efficient Lewis acid, making it a useful catalytic agent in hydroxylation and other enzymatic reactions.HP Pavilion DV4-1256TX Battery

The metal also has a flexible coordination geometry, which allows proteins using it to rapidly shift conformations to perform biological reactions. Two examples of zinc-containing enzymes are carbonic anhydrase and carboxypeptidase, which are vital to the processes of carbon dioxide (CO2) regulation and digestion of proteins, respectively.HP Pavilion DV4-1257TX Battery

In vertebrate blood, carbonic anhydrase converts CO2 into bicarbonate and the same enzyme transforms the bicarbonate back into CO2 for exhalation through the lungs. Without this enzyme, this conversion would occur about one million times slower at the normal blood pHof 7 or would require a pH of 10 or

more.HP Pavilion DV4-1258TX Battery

 The non-related β-carbonic anhydrase is required in plants for leaf formation, the synthesis of indole acetic acid (auxin) andanaerobic respiration (alcoholic fermentation). 

Carboxypeptidase cleaves peptide linkages during digestion of proteins.HP Pavilion DV4-1259TX Battery

A coordinate covalent bond is formed between the terminal peptide and a C=O group attached to zinc, which gives the carbon a positive charge. This helps to create a hydrophobic pocket on the enzyme near the zinc, which attracts the non-polar part of the protein being digested.HP Pavilion DV4-1260TX Battery

Other proteins

Zinc serves a purely structural role in zinc fingers, twists and clusters. Zinc fingers form parts of some transcription factors, which are proteins that recognize DNA base sequences during the replication and transcription of DNA.HP Pavilion DV4-1265DX Battery

Each of the nine or ten Zn2+ ions in a zinc finger helps maintain the finger's structure by coordinately binding to four amino acids in the transcription factor.[158] The transcription factor wraps around the DNA helix and uses its fingers to accurately bind to the DNA sequence.HP Pavilion DV4-1272CM Battery

In blood plasma, zinc is bound to and transported by albumin (60%, low-affinity) and transferrin (10%).[150] Since transferrin also transports iron, excessive iron reduces zinc absorption, and vice-versa. A similar reaction occurs with copper.[162] The concentration of zinc in blood plasma stays relatively constant regardless of zinc intake.HP Pavilion DV4-1275MX Battery

Cells in the salivary gland, prostate, immune system and intestine use zinc signaling as one way to communicate with other cells. 

Zinc may be held in metallothionein reserves within microorganisms or in the intestines or liver of animals. Metallothionein in intestinal cells is capable of adjusting absorption of zinc by 15–40%.HP Pavilion DV4-1280US Battery

However, inadequate or excessive zinc intake can be harmful; excess zinc particularly impairs copper absorption because metallothionein absorbs both metals.

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