Skip to content
Related Articles

Related Articles

Improve Article
Save Article
Like Article

Zinc – Occurrence, Properties, Uses, Effects

  • Last Updated : 19 Nov, 2021

When oxidation is removed, zinc is a slightly brittle metal with a silvery-greyish appearance at room temperature. It is the first element in Group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc and magnesium are chemically similar in certain ways: both have only one normal oxidation state (+2) and the Zn+2 and Mg+2 ions are comparable in size. Zinc has five stable isotopes and is the 24th most prevalent element in the Earth’s crust. The most common zinc ore is sphalerite (zinc blende), a zinc sulphide mineral.

Zinc is a chemical element with atomic number 30 and the symbol Zn. 

Occurrence of Zinc

Zinc is the 24th most abundant element, with 75 parts per million in the Earth’s crust. Zinc levels in soil range from 5 to 770 parts per million, with an average of 64 parts per million. The atmosphere has just 30 ppb, while seawater has only 30 ppb. In ores, the element is usually found in combination with other base metals like copper and lead. 

Zinc is a chalcophile, which means it is more likely to be found in minerals containing sulphur and other heavy chalcogens than in minerals containing light chalcogen oxygen or non-chalcogen electronegative elements such as halogens. Under the reducing circumstances of the early Earth’s atmosphere, sulphides developed as the crust consolidated. Because its concentrate contains 60–62% zinc, sphalerite, a kind of zinc sulphide, is the most extensively mined zinc-containing ore.

Physical Properties of Zinc

  • Zinc is commonly found in bigger complex minerals.
  • Zinc is a metal with a high melting point that is bluish-white in colour. It is a very sparkling, whitish-blue metal when sequestered.
  • The metal is less soft than copper and has fewer applications. It is brittle and crystalline at room temperature, but when heated to between 110°C and 150°C, it becomes ductile and pliable.
  • It is a moderately reactive metal that reacts with oxygen and other nonmetals to form hydrogen and dilute acids.

Chemical Properties of Zinc

  • One of the most powerful reducing agents is zinc.

Zn + 2HCl → ZnCl2 + H2 

  • A blue-green flare is produced when zinc is burned.
  • The following is the chemical reaction of zinc oxide:

2Zn + O2 → 2ZnO

  • Zinc does not react directly with water. Metallic zinc, on the other hand, can react with oxygen in the air in the presence of water vapour to generate zinc hydroxide.

Zn + 2H2O → Zn(OH)2 + H2

Uses of Zinc

  1. The metal is used in a variety of industries, including roofing and the production of zinc oxide.
  2. The metallic element is employed in a variety of applications, including sunscreens, solar cells, and nuclear reactors.
  3. The metal aids in the maintenance of enzyme balance in the human body.
  4. Zinc oxide is also utilised as a rubber ingredient in the manufacture of automotive tyres.
  5. Zinc oxide can endure high temperatures and prevents the tyres from collapsing when they become too hot.
  6. Zinc has a bluish silver surface when it is the first cast, but it progressively oxidises in the air to generate a coating of greyish protective oxides.
  7. It is mostly used for galvanizing iron, but it is also employed in the creation of certain alloys. It’s utilised in the construction of roofing and gutters, as well as the negative plates in some electric batteries.
  8. Zinc oxide is used as a white pigment in watercolours and paints, as well as a rubber activator.
  9. Zinc is utilised as a pigment in plastics, cosmetics, photocopier paper, wallpaper, printing inks, and other products, and it also serves as a catalyst and heat disperser in rubber manufacturing.
  10. Zinc metal is included in almost every single tablet, and it is thought to have anti-oxidant characteristics that protect the skin and muscles of the body from premature ageing.

Health effects of zinc

Zinc is a vital trace element for human health. People who do not get enough zinc may lose their appetite, lose their sense of taste and smell, experience poor wound healing, and develop skin sores. Zinc deficiency has the potential to cause birth defects.

Despite the fact that humans can tolerate relatively high zinc concentrations, too much zinc can cause serious health problems such as stomach cramps, skin irritations, vomiting, nausea, and anaemia. High zinc levels have been linked to pancreatitis, protein metabolism disruption, and arteriosclerosis. Excessive zinc chloride exposure may cause respiratory issues.

Sample Questions

Question 1: What are the benefits of taking zinc?

Answer:

Zinc, a mineral contained in your body, helps your immune system and metabolism work properly. Zinc is also necessary for wound healing and maintaining your sense of taste and smell. A diversified diet usually provides adequate zinc for your body.

Question 2: Why does zinc have a low melting point?

Answer:

Iron has only partially filled the d orbital, whereas Zn has completely filled the d orbital. Regardless of the screening effect, Zn has a substantially larger size than Fe, implying that Zn’s valence electrons are less restricted to the nucleus than Fe’s.

Question 3: Does Zinc rust in water?

Answer:

Zinc, like all ferrous metals, corrodes when exposed to air and water. Zinc, on the other hand, corrodes steel at a 1/30th of the rate. Zinc, like other ferrous metals, corrodes or rusts to varying degrees depending on their surroundings.

Question 4: Zinc is a chalcophile. Explain.

Answer:

Zinc is a chalcophile, which means it is more likely to be found in minerals containing sulphur and other heavy chalcogens than in minerals containing light chalcogen oxygen or non-chalcogen electronegative elements such as halogens.

Question 5: Is zinc as a trace element essential for human health?

Answer:

Zinc is a vital trace element for human health. People who do not get enough zinc may lose their appetite, lose their sense of taste and smell, experience poor wound healing, and develop skin sores. Zinc deficiency has the potential to cause birth defects.

My Personal Notes arrow_drop_up
Recommended Articles
Page :

Start Your Coding Journey Now!