Wikijunior:The Elements/Zinc

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Shows the position of Zinc on the periodic chart.
Zinc's symbol on the Periodic Table

What does it look, feel, taste or smell like?[edit | edit source]

Zinc is a hard solid that is bluish in color. It has no smell.

How was it discovered?[edit | edit source]

Zinc was known to the ancients, but it wasn't until 1746 that zinc was isolated by Andreas Marggraf. Marggraf showed people that zinc could be isolated by reducing calamine with charcoal.

Centuries before the metallic form of zinc was discovered, zinc ores were used for making brass and zinc compounds. An alloy containing 87% zinc has been found in prehistoric ruins in Transylvania. Zinc ores were used for healing wounds and sore eyes. It is estimated that during the rule of Augustus (20 BC to 14 AD), the Romans were the first people to make brass. In the 13th century explorer Marco Polo was cited as describing the production of zinc oxide in Persia. India recognized zinc as a new metal by 1374; at the time, it was the eighth metal known to man. Zinc oxide had been produced in Zawar, India from the 12th to 16th centuries. This zinc was produced by reducing calamine using organic substances like wool.

Where did its name come from?[edit | edit source]

The name zinc comes from "zinn", the German word for tin.

Did You Know?

  • A human body contains around 2.3g Zinc.
  • The oldest evidence of pure zinc comes from Zawar, in Rajasthan, as early as the 9th century AD.
  • Zinc is the fourth most common metal in use, trailing only iron, aluminium, and copper

Where is it found?[edit | edit source]

Foods and spices that contain the essential mineral zinc

Zinc is hard to find, because it is very reactive in its pure form, and makes up less than 1% of the earth's crust. It's found mostly in compounds like the mineral Zinc Sulfide, also known as sphalerite or zincblende.

What are its uses?[edit | edit source]

Zinc has many common and not-so-common uses: Zinc is used in many coins. Zinc is used to make brass and bronze. It is also used in metal coating and rust protection, called galvanization. It is also used in the batteries that power everything from flashlights to radio-controlled toys. This type of battery was invented by the French chemist George Leclanche more than 100 years ago. Zinc oxide is a common sunscreen because it can block harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that damage skin. This same compound is also used to make white paints and to make photocopies. Zinc sulfide, another zinc compound, is used in electronic devices as a phosphor (pronounced "fos-four"). Phosphor gives off light when struck by electrons. Zinc sulfide has been used on the inside of computer and television screens to produce images from your favorite TV show to computer games.

Is it dangerous?[edit | edit source]

No, it is not dangerous. Zinc is necessary for the human body and helps boost your immune system. Zinc oxide can also be used as a sunblock to protect your skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light.

Other details about Zinc[edit | edit source]

Zinc has a boiling point of 907 degree Celsius and melting point of 419.53 degree Celsius.

References[edit | edit source]