Zirconium - Mechanical Properties And Material Applications

Topics Covered

Introduction
Physical Properties
Mechanical Properties
Thermal Properties
Other Designations
Fabrication and Heat Treatment
     Machinability
     Forming
     Welding
Applications

Introduction

Zirconium is a strong, ductile and malleable metal whose physical and chemical properties are similar to that of titanium. It has good corrosion and heat resistance. At elevated temperatures, the finely divided metal is capable of igniting spontaneously in air. It cannot be dissolved in acids or alkalis. Zirconium is used in oxide or zirconia form. Zirconium oxide has low thermal conductivity and high melting point.

The following section will describe in detail about zirconium.

Physical Properties

The physical properties of zirconium are outlined in the following table.

Properties Metric Imperial
Density 6.53 g/cm³ 0.236 lb/in³
Melting point 1843°C 3350°F

Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of zirconium are outlined in the following table.

Properties Metric Imperial
Tensile strength (annealed) 330 MPa 47900 psi
Yield strength (annealed) 230 MPa 33400 psi
Modulus of elasticity 94.5 GPa 13700 ksi
Poissons ratio 0.34 0.34
Elongation at break (annealed) 32% 32%
Hardness, Brinell (converted from Vickers for 3000 kg load/10 mm ball. Annealed sample) 145 145
Hardness, Rockwell A (converted from Vickers. annealed sample) 49 49
Hardness, Rockwell B (converted from Vickers. Annealed sample) 78 78
Hardness, Vickers (annealed sample) 150 150

Thermal Properties

The thermal properties of zirconium are outlined in the following table.

Properties Metric Imperial
Thermal expansion coefficient (@20-100°C/68-212°F) 5.80 µm/m°C 3.22 µin/in°F
Thermal conductivity 16.7 W/mK 116 BTU in/hr.ft².°F

Other Designations

Other designations that are equivalent to zirconium include the following:

  • ASTM B493
  • ASTM B494
  • ASTM B523
  • ASTM B550
  • ASTM B551
  • ASTM B653
  • ASTM B658
  • AWS A5.24

Fabrication and Heat Treatment

Machinability

Zirconium must be machined carefully as the zirconium powder and shavings are flammable. Hence, a flood cooling system, heavy feed and slow speeds are required. The metal also has a tendency to gall.

Forming

Zirconium is ductile and easily workable. However, proper lubricant must be used to prevent galling.

Welding

Gas tungsten arc welding method is best-suited for welding zirconium. Proper shielding is required for welding zirconium, which may otherwise result in weak and brittle welds.

Applications

The following are the major applications of zirconium.

  • Jet engines
  • Knife blades
  • Water-cooled nuclear reactors
  • Super alloys
  • Chemical processing equipment

Comments

  1. John Rodes John Rodes United States says:

    what about electroconductivity and electrolyticity-- can I use it for a dental implant without creating a significant battery cell in my jaw? so it's not as potential-hydrogen reactive as titanium is -- regarding the characteristics of this element here exposited, electricals are conspicuous by their absence ...

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