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Copper - Zinc - Gallium

Name, Symbol, NumberZinc, Zn, 30
Chemical series Transition metals
Group, Period, Block12 [?], 4 , d
Density, Hardness 7140 kg/m3, 2.5
Appearance blueish pale grey
Atomic Properties
Atomic weight 65.409 amu
Atomic radius (calc.) 135 (142) pm
Covalent radius 131 pm
van der Waals radius 139 pm
Electron configuration [Ar]3d104s2
e- 's per energy level2, 8, 18, 2
Oxidation states (Oxide) 2 (amphoteric)
Crystal structure hexagonal
Physical Properties
State of matter solid (diamagnetic)
Melting point 692.68 K (787.15 °F)
Boiling point 1180 K (1665 °F)
Molar volume 9.16 ×10-3 m3/mol
Heat of vaporization 115.3 kJ/mol
Heat of fusion 7.322 kJ/mol
Vapor pressure 192.2 Pa at 692.73 K
Velocity of sound 3700 m/s at 293.15 K
Electronegativity 1.65 (Pauling scale)
Specific heat capacity 390 J/(kg*K)
Electrical conductivity 16.6 106/m ohm
Thermal conductivity 116 W/(m*K)
1st ionization potential 906.4 kJ/mol
2nd ionization potential 1733.3 kJ/mol
3rd ionization potential 3833 kJ/mol
4th ionization potential 5731 kJ/mol
Most Stable Isotopes
isoNAhalf-life DMDE MeVDP
64Zn48.6%Zn is stable with 34 neutrons
65Zn{syn.}244.26 days electron capture1.352 65Cu
66Zn27.9%Zn is stable with 36 neutrons
67Zn4.1%Zn is stable with 37 neutrons
68Zn18.8%Zn is stable with 38 neutrons
72Zn{syn.}46.5 hoursbeta0.45872Ga
SI units & STP are used except where noted.

Table of contents


Zinc is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30.


Zinc is a metal, mined in Vieille Montagne and Zinkgruvan, used in the process of galvanizing steel. It is moderately reactive as metals go, will combine with oxygen and other non-metals, and will react with dilute acids to release hydrogen gas. It is the fourth most common metal in use, trailing only iron, aluminum, and copper in tons of metal produced per year.

The one common oxidation state of zinc is +2.


  • Zinc is used to galvanize metals to prevent their corrosion.
  • Zinc is used in alloys such as brass, nickel silver, typewriter metal, various solder formulas, German silver, etc.
  • Brass, in turn, has wide application because of its strength and corrosion resistance.
  • Zinc is used in die castings, especially by the automobile industry.
  • Rolled zinc is used as part of the containers of batteries.
  • Zinc oxide is used as a white pigment in watercolors and paints, and as an activator in the rubber industry.
  • Zinc chloride is used as a deodorant and as a wood preservative.
  • Zinc sulfide is used in luminescent pigments, for making the hands of clocks and other items that glow in the dark.
  • Zinc methyl (Zn(CH3)2) is used in a number of organic syntheses.
  • Lotions made of calamine, a mix of Zn-(hydroxy-)carbonates and silicates, are used to treat skin rash.

Zinc alloys have been used for centuries, as brass goods dating to 1000-1400 BCE have been found in Palestine and zinc objects with 87% zinc have been found in prehistoric Transylvania. Because of the low boiling point and chemical reactivity of this metal (isolated zinc would tend to go up the chimney rather than be captured), the true nature of this metal was not understood in ancient times.

The manufacture of brass was known to the Romans by about 30 BCE, using a technique where calamine and copper were heated together in a crucible. The zinc oxides in calamine were reduced, and the free zinc metal was trapped by the copper, forming an alloy. The resulting brass was either cast or hammered into shape.

Smelting and extraction of impure forms of zinc was being accomplished as early as 1000 AD in India and China. By the end of the 14th century, the Hindus were aware of the existence of zinc as a metal separate from the seven known to the ancients. In the West, the discovery of pure metallic zinc is most often credited to the German Andreas Marggraf, in the year 1746, though the whole story is considerably more involved.

Descriptions of brass manufacture are found in Western Europe in the writings of Albertus Magnus, ca 1248, and by the 16th century, the understanding and awareness of the new metal broadened considerably. Agricola observed, in 1546, that a white metal could be condensed and scraped off the walls of a furnace when zinc ores were smelted. He added in his notes that a similar metal called "zincum" was being produced in Silesia. Paracelsus (died 1541) was the first in the West to say that that "zincum" was a new metal and that it had a separate set of chemical properties from other known metals.

The upshot is that zinc was known by the time Margraaf made his discoveries and in fact zinc had been isolated two years earlier by another chemist, Anton von Swab. However, Margraaf's reports were exhaustive and methodical and the quality of his research cemented his reputation as the discoverer of zinc.

The word "zink", as a term, was originally used by Löhneyes in 1697.

Before the discovery of the zinc sulfide flotation technique, calamine was the mineral source of zinc metal.

Biological Role

Zinc is an essential element in human beings, necessary for sustaining life. Deficiencies of zinc have marked effects on weight gain in animals. Zinc is found in insulin, zinc finger proteins, and such enzymes as superoxide dismutase.

Occurrence Zinc is the 23rd most abundant element in the earth's crust. The most heavily mined ores tend to contain roughly 10% iron as well as 40-50% zinc. Minerals from which zinc is extracted include sphalerite, zinc blende, smithsonite, calamine, and franklinite. Compounds

Zinc oxide is perhaps the best known and most widely used zinc compound, as it makes a good base for white pigments in paint. It also finds industrial use in the rubber industry. A variety of other zinc compounds find use industrially, such as zinc chloride (in deoderants), zinc sulfide (in luminescent paints), and zinc methyl in the organic laboratory. Roughly one quarter of all zinc output is consumed in the form of zinc compounds.

Isotopes Naturally occurring zinc is composed of the 4 stable isotopes Zn-64, Zn-66, Zn-67, and Zn-68 with 64 being the most abundant (48.6% natural abundance). 22 radioisotopes have been characterized with the most {abundant and/or stable} being Zn-65 with a half-life of 244.26 days, and Zn-72 with a half-life of 46.5 hours. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lifes that are less than 14 hours and the majority of these have half lifes that are less than 1 second. This element also has 4 meta states.

Precautions Metallic zinc is not considered to be toxic, but there is a condition called zinc shakes or zinc chills that can be induced by the inhalation of freshly formed zinc oxide.

External Links

See also: Periodic Table, Nephiline

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