What has the sign “Zn” and an atomic number “30” on the periodic table of elements? The answer is zinc! What makes zinc so important? Well, there are many reasons why this bluish-silver chemical element is so vital to our society, and even our health! Continue below to learn the basic facts about zinc metal, including it common properties and applications.
Most Zinc is a Man-Made Alloy
Zinc is mainly mined from natural ore containing zinc blende, zinc sulfide, or sphalerite. Although pure zinc is a naturally-occurring metal well-abundant in Earth’s crust, the majority of zinc are alloys, or blends of zinc and other elements. In fact, the use of zinc alloys can be authentically dated back as far as 500 BC! And did you know that if you add some copper to it, you get brass? It’s true! Brass is a common zinc alloy. Artifacts of zinc alloys can be dated back to the Roman Empire and beyond, from coins and weapons, to art, instruments, jewelry, and more.
In the year 1837, a man by the name of Stanislas Sorel announced his new development known as galvanization, which is the process of coating other metals and metal alloys with a layer of zinc for cathodic protection and more. In fact, galvanization is the primary industrial use of pure zinc today. Take some time to learn about the most common techniques for galvanizing metal to understand the process even better! But Sorel cannot take all the credit. It wasn’t until a man named Luigi Galvani stumbled upon the enlivening impact of electricity while dissecting frogs for autopsy!
Zinc Facts That Will Stimulate Your Mind
Zinc is a base metal. What are base metals? Well, there are many definitions depending on the context. Primarily, they are metals that are neither noble nor precious, but widely available and low in cost. When zinc is room-temperature, it is brittle, and appears blue-silver in color. After a good polishing, it can appear bright silver.
The most common application of pure zinc in today’s society is steel galvanization. Other applications include the manufacturing of marine components and commodities, as well as musical instruments, fire retardants, trophies, medals, and of course, brass production.
Zinc is not considered a strong metal. It is weak, containing less than 50% the tensile strength of mild carbon steel. It is also brittle, yet can endure high impacts. For this reason, it is not used in heavy-load applications, but often used for die-casting mechanical parts from zinc.
Zinc is a ductile metal between the temperatures of 212 and 302 degrees Fahrenheit. Within this temperature range, it is also very malleable. If it gets hotter, it returns to being very brittle. Zinc is a moderately conductive metal. It does retain strong electro-chemical properties, which is why it is often used in the battery making process.
Zinc is an essential trace element for people! In fact, it is the 2nd most abundant trace element behind iron in human beings. If you are zinc-deficient, you might experience a loss of appetite. Eat more red meat, nuts, oysters, lobster, whole grains, and beans for natural sources of healthy zinc. Or simply take OTC zinc supplements.
Zinc is a non-ferrous metal, which means it does not contain iron. Non-ferrous metals are 100% recyclable, and therefore, can be reused infinitely.
Where to Recycle Scrap Metal in Indianapolis
Call Garden City Iron & Metal at 1-888-586-5322 to recycle scrap metal in Indianapolis, or in Central and Southern Indiana. We pay cash on the spot for both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, as well as, junk cars, automotive parts, appliances, construction equipment, motorized farming equipment, and much more! Get rid of your junk and make some fast cash at the same time.