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Supplier Data - Zinc (Zn) (Goodfellow)

Zinc (Zn) was known to the Greeks and Romans as a constituent of the copper alloy, brass, but metallic Zinc was not discovered until the 16th. century by Paracelcus.

Abundance and Extraction

Zinc is a brittle metal which has a blue cast. It is readily accessible as it occurs in concentrated ores from which it is easily extracted (it has an abundance of 75 ppm in the earth's crust). Extraction is achieved by heating the oxide with carbon and distilling out the metal. Zinc tarnishes in air and reacts with acids and alkalis.


Zinc is used widely throughout industry; for example, it is used as a galvanic coating on steel to prevent corrosion, and is used as a constituent of various alloy systems (e.g. with copper in brass), as well as in zinc-base alloys which can be used for diecasting (the other alloy constituents are aluminium, copper and magnesium).

Pure Zinc is used as an electrode in a Daniell cell and also in dry batteries. Zinc oxide is used as a stabiliser for certain grades of rubbers and plastics, as well as a non-toxic, white pigment used in paint manufacture. Zinc oxide also has astringent and soothing qualities and is used as a constituent of creams and ointments.

A layer of zinc to prevent corrosion and rust (Image credit - Shutterstock/ Ozgur Coskun)

A layer of zinc to prevent corrosion and rust (Image credit - Shutterstock/ Ozgur Coskun)

Key Properties

The key properties of Zinc are tabulated below.

Table 1. Key properties

Atomic Properties
Atomic number 30
Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.137
Atomic weight ( amu ) 65.38
Crystal structure Hexagonal close packed
Electronic structure Ar 3d10 4s2
Photo-electric work function ( eV ) 4.3
Thermal neutron absorption cross-section ( Barns ) 1.10
Valences shown 2
Ionisation Potential No. eV
1 9.39
2 17.96
3 39.7
4 59.4
5 82.6
6 108
Natural Isotope Distribution Mass No. %
64 48.6
66 27.9
67 4.1
68 18.8
70 0.6
Electrical Properties
Electrical resistivity @ 20 °C ( µ ) 5.96
Temperature coefficient @ 0-100 °C ( K-1 ) 0.0042
Superconductivity critical temperature ( K ) 0.85
Thermal emf against Pt (cold 0 °C - hot 100 °C) ( mV ) +0.76
Mechanical Properties
Material condition Polycrystalline
Bulk modulus ( GPa ) 69.4
Hardness - Mohs 2.5
Poisson’s ratio 0.249
Tensile modulus ( GPa ) 104.5
Physical Properties
Boiling point (°C ) 907
Density @ 20 °C ( g cm-3 ) 7.14
Melting point (°C ) 419.5
Thermal Properties
Coefficient of thermal expansion @ 0-100 °C ( x10-6 K-1 ) 31.0
Latent heat of evaporation ( J.g-1 ) 1748
Latent heat of fusion ( J.g-1 ) 111
Specific heat @ 25 °C ( ) 388
Thermal conductivity @ 0-100 °C ( W.m-1.K-1 ) 116

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