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Zinc

What Is Zinc?

Zinc is metallic chemical element found abundantly in the Earth’s crust and around the world. Pure zinc is a lustrous metal with a bluish white appearance. At room temperature it becomes extremely brittle but when it is heated it becomes malleable, soft and easy to work with. At this stage it becomes reactive and combines easily with other elements.

Zinc has been used for thousands of years, with brass an alloy of zinc and copper being traced to 10 BC. Zinc is also an essential mineral needed for optimal health and wellbeing. Over two billion people in third world countries suffer from a zinc deficiency - a contributing factor to the death of 800,000 children worldwide per year.

What Is Zinc Used For?

Zinc’s main application is in corrosion protection through galvanising, i.e. a layer of zinc is used to coat steel to prevent it from corrosion and decay. It is used for die casting, architectural and building applications, and can be found in batteries, tyres and rubber products. Zinc is used as a pigment and is found in sunscreen and supplements.

Where Is Zinc Produced?

Zinc’s production is achieved through mining and recycling efforts with China being the largest producer, followed closely by Peru and Australia.

Conclusion

Zinc is the fourth most common metal in use and is found abundantly around the world. It is largely produced in China, Australia and Peru and is used in sunscreen, alloys, and batteries and in health supplements.

Zinc is needed in both industrial and biological applications and is another important element to the wellbeing of humanity.


If you would like to learn more about minerals and mining visit our Mining and Metals page.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

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