Skip to Main Content

About Zinc

Zinc Bohr

Zinc is one of a few metals that were widely used by human societies in alloys long before they were recognized as metals themselves. The earliest brasses, alloys of copper and small percentages of zinc, first produced as early as several millennia BCE, likely resulted from the accidental smelting of zinc-rich copper ores. There is evidence that by the eighth century BCE, the special properties of metals smelted from such ores was recognized, and thus the ore was highly valued and sought after.

Later, starting in the first century BCE, brass was produced by heating copper ore and zinc ore together, producing a zinc vapor that reacted with the copper. At this time, brass became widely used in coinage and military equipment, and the methods for producing it spread around the world. By the 14th century in India and 17th century in China, the metallic form of zinc was finally produced deliberately, and a variety of European chemists and alchemists worked with the metal, but discovery of zinc as an element is generally credited to German chemist Andreas Marggraf for his extensive work in 1746, which documented his ability to obtain metallic zinc from a number of zinc compounds.

In modern times, zinc continues to be used as an alloy metal. Brass alloys are more corrosion resistant than copper and more workable than zinc alone or the other common copper alloy, bronze. They are additionally notable for their acoustic properties, which lend them to use in musical instruments. Brass also retains some of the antimicrobial properties of copper, and therefore is used for commonly touched objects in hospitals, including doorknobs and surfaces. Another alloy, nickel silver, contains nickel, copper, and zinc, and is used decoratively and for many musical instruments that are silver in color. There are also many majority-zinc alloys tailored to specific uses, with small amounts of additives used to impart key qualities. Zinc aluminum, for example, has a lower melting point and lower viscosity than zinc, making it more suitable for casting of small and intricate shapes. Zinc sheet metals are produced using small amounts of titanium and copper, which make a resulting alloy less brittle than zinc that therefore can be roll formed or bent.

As important as zinc alloys have been throughout history and still are today, in modern times zinc’s largest use is in galvanizing other metals, usually iron or steel, to protect them against corrosion. Galvanization is simply the application of a thin coating of zinc to a metal surface through any of several methods. Initially, the top of this layer reacts with the atmosphere to produce zinc carbonate, which protects all the underlying metal from corrosion. When the zinc layer is scratched down to the underlying metal, however, zinc still protects the underlying metal, now by acting as a sacrificial anode. This same property is exploited when zinc is used as the sacrificial anode in cathodic protection of buried pipelines or submerged iron components of a ship. Zinc also serves as an anode in alkaline batteries, zinc-carbon batteries, silver-zinc batteries, and zinc-air fuel cells, and as a cathode in silver oxide batteries.

Dozens of zinc compounds find use in everyday products such as deodorants, cosmetics, sunscreens, anti-dandruff shampoos, and dietary supplements. Some zinc compounds find use in organic synthesis or industrial chemistry: notably, zinc oxide has long been used as a catalyst in the vulcanization of rubber. Additionally, compounds of zinc with oxygen, sulfur, selenium, or tellurium are all II-VI semiconductors with properties that recommend them for a variety of optoelectronic applications, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs), laser diodes, and solar cells. Zinc sulfide, zinc selenide, and zinc telluride all are used as infrared or near-infrared optical materials, and doped versions of each compound exist with other useful properties such as scintillation. Zinc may also serve as a component the ternary semiconductors cadmium zinc telluride and mercury zinc telluride, which are useful for similar applications, but additionally have band gaps that can be easily tuned by altering the precise composition of the material.

Zinc is the fourth most commonly used metal, behind only iron, aluminum, and copper. It is mined primarily from zinc sulfide deposits, which are generally roasted to produce zinc oxide and then processed to the metal through pyrometallurgy or electrowinning. Most of the zinc used annually is newly mined, but about thirty percent is recycled.

+ Open All
- Close All

Zinc has unusual electrical, thermal, optical, and solid-state properties that have not been fully investigated. The metal is employed to form numerous alloys with other metals. Brass, nickel silver, commercial bronze, soft solder, and aluminum solder are some of the more important zincalloys. Zinc is used to produce die castings which are used extensively by the automotive, electrical, and hardware industries. Zinc is also used to galvanize other metals such as iron to prevent corrosion. High Purity (99.999%) Zinc Oxide (ZnO) PowderZinc oxide is widely used in the manufacture of paints, rubber products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, floor coverings, plastics, printing inks, soap, storage batteries, textiles, and electrical equipment. Zinc sulfide is used in making luminous dials, X-ray and TV screens, and fluorescent lights. High Purity (99.9999%) Zinc (Zn) Sputtering TargetThe chloride and chromate are also important compounds. Zinc is available as metal and compounds with purities from 99% to 99.999% (ACS grade to ultra-high purity). Elemental or metallic forms include pellets, rod, wire and granules for evaporation source material purposes. Zinc nanoparticles and nanopowders provide ultra-high surface area. Oxides are available in powder and dense pellet form for such uses as optical coating and thin film applications. Oxides tend to be insoluble. Fluorides are another insoluble form for uses in which oxygen is undesirable such as metallurgy, chemical and physical vapor deposition and in some optical coatings. Zinc is also available in soluble forms including chlorides, nitrates and acetates. These compounds can be manufactured as solutions at specified stoichiometries.

Zinc Properties

Zinc(Zn) atomic and molecular weight, atomic number and elemental symbolZinc is a Block D, Group 12, Period 4 element. The number of electrons in each of zinc's shells is 2, 8, 18, 2, and its electron configuration is [Ar] 3d10 4s2. The zinc atom has a radius of and its Van der Waals radius is In its elemental form, CAS 7440-66-6, zinc has a silver-gray appearance. Zinc Bohr ModelIt is brittle at ordinary temperatures but malleable at 100 °C to 150 °C. Elemental ZincIt is a fair conductor of electricity, and burns in air at high red producing white clouds of the oxide. Zinc is mined from sulfidic ore deposits. The most common zinc ore is sphalerite (zinc blende), a zinc sulfide mineral. It is is the 24th most abundant element in the earth's crust and the fourth most common metal in use (after iron, aluminum, and copper). Metallic zinc was first isolated from a variety of zinc compounds by Andreas Marggraf in 1746. The element name zinc originates from the German word "zin" meaning tin.

Symbol: Zn
Atomic Number: 30
Atomic Weight: 65.38
Element Category: transition metal
Group, Period, Block: 12, 4, d
Color: bluish pale gray/ bluish silver
Other Names: Zincum, Zink, Zinco
Melting Point: 419.53 °C, 787.15 °F, 692.68 K
Boiling Point: 907 °C, 1665 °F, 1180 K
Density: 7.14 g·cm3
Liquid Density @ Melting Point: 6.57 g·cm3
Density @ 20°C: 7.14 g/cm3
Density of Solid: 7140 kg·m3
Specific Heat: 0.0928 Cal/g/K @ 25 °C
Superconductivity Temperature: 0.85 [or -272.3 °C (-458.1 °F)] K
Triple Point: 692.65 K, 0.065 kPa 
Critical Point: N/A
Heat of Fusion (kJ·mol-1): 6.67
Heat of Vaporization (kJ·mol-1): 114.2
Heat of Atomization (kJ·mol-1): 130.181
Thermal Conductivity: 1.16 W/cm/K @ 298.2 K 
Thermal Expansion: (25 °C) 30.2 µm·m-1·K-1
Electrical Resistivity: (20 °C) 59.0 nΩ·m
Tensile Strength: N/A
Molar Heat Capacity: 25.470 J·mol-1·K-1
Young's Modulus: 108 GPa
Shear Modulus: 43 GPa
Bulk Modulus: 70 GPa
Poisson Ratio: 0.25
Mohs Hardness: 2.5
Vickers Hardness: N/A
Brinell Hardness: 412 MPa
Speed of Sound: (r.t.) (rolled) 3850 m·s-1
Pauling Electronegativity: 1.65
Sanderson Electronegativity: 2.23
Allred Rochow Electronegativity: 1.66
Mulliken-Jaffe Electronegativity: 1.65 (sp orbital)
Allen Electronegativity: N/A
Pauling Electropositivity: 2.35
Reflectivity (%): 80
Refractive Index: 1.00205
Electrons: 30
Protons: 30
Neutrons: 35
Electron Configuration: [Ar] 3d10 4s2
Atomic Radius: 134 pm
Atomic Radius,
non-bonded (Å):
Covalent Radius: 122±4 pm
Covalent Radius (Å): 1.2
Van der Waals Radius: 139 pm
Oxidation States: +2, +1, 0 (amphoteric oxide)
Phase: Solid
Crystal Structure: hexagonal close-packed
Magnetic Ordering: diamagnetic
Electron Affinity (kJ·mol-1) Not stable
1st Ionization Energy: 906.41 kJ·mol-1
2nd Ionization Energy: 1733.31 kJ·mol-1
3rd Ionization Energy: 3832.71 kJ·mol-1
CAS Number: 7440-66-6
EC Number: 231-175-3
MDL Number: MFCD00011291 
Beilstein Number: N/A
SMILES Identifier: [Zn]
InChI Identifier: InChI=1S/Zn
PubChem CID: 23994
ChemSpider ID: 22430
Earth - Total: 74 ppm 
Mercury - Total: 12.1 ppm
Venus - Total: 82 ppm 
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by weight: 5
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by atoms: 0.47
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by weight: 79000
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by atoms: 25000
Sun - Total, ppb by weight: 2000
Sun - Total, ppb by atoms: 30
Stream, ppb by weight: 10
Stream, ppb by atoms: 0.2
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by weight: 180000
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by atoms: 44000
Typical Human Body, ppb by weight: 33000
Typical Human Body, ppb by atom: 3200
Universe, ppb by weight: 300
Universe, ppb by atom: 6
Discovered By: Indian metallurgists
Discovery Date: Prior to 1000 BC
First Isolation: Andreas Sigismund Marggraf (1746)

Health, Safety & Transportation Information for Zinc

Zinc is considered non-toxic in moderate doses but can cause nausea if taken in excess. Safety data for Zinc and its compounds can vary widely depending on the form. For potential hazard information, toxicity, and road, sea and air transportation limitations, such as DOT Hazard Class, DOT Number, EU Number, NFPA Health rating and RTECS Class, please see the specific material or compound referenced in the Products tab. The below information applies to elemental (metallic) Zinc.

Safety Data
Material Safety Data Sheet MSDS
Signal Word Danger
Hazard Statements H251-H261
Hazard Codes F,N
Risk Codes 15-17-50/53
Safety Precautions 43-46-60-61
RTECS Number ZG8600000
Transport Information UN 1436 4.3/PG 2
WGK Germany nwg
Globally Harmonized System of
Classification and Labelling (GHS)

Zinc Isotopes

Zinc has 5 stable isotopes: 64Zn, 66Zn, 67Zn, 68Zn, and 70Zn.

Nuclide Isotopic Mass Half-Life Mode of Decay Nuclear Spin Magnetic Moment Binding Energy (MeV) Natural Abundance
(% by atom)
54Zn 53.99295(43)# N/A 2p to 52Ni 0+ N/A 410.04 -
55Zn 54.98398(27)# 20# ms [>1.6 µs] 2p to 53Ni; ß+ to 55Cu 5/2-# N/A 426.5 -
56Zn 55.97238(28)# 36(10) ms ß+ to 56Cu 0+ N/A 444.83 -
57Zn 56.96479(11)# 38(4) ms ß+ + p to 56Ni; ß+ to 57Cu 7/2-# N/A 460.36 -
58Zn 57.95459(5) 84(9) ms ß+ + p to 57Ni; ß+ to 58Cu 0+ N/A 477.76 -
59Zn 58.94926(4) 182.0(18) ms ß+ to 59Cu; ß+ + p to 58Ni 3/2- N/A 490.5 -
60Zn 59.941827(11) 2.38(5) min EC to 60Cu 0+ N/A 506.03 -
61Zn 60.939511(17) 89.1(2) s EC to 61Cu 3/2- N/A 515.97 -
62Zn 61.934330(11) 9.186(13) h EC to 62Cu 0+ N/A 528.71 -
63Zn 62.9332116(17) 38.47(5) min EC to 63Cu 3/2- -0.28164 537.72 -
64Zn 63.9291422(7) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 549.52 48.63
65Zn 64.9292410(7) 243.66(9) d EC to 65Cu 5/2- 0.769 557.6 -
66Zn 65.9260334(10) STABLE - 0+ N/A 568.47 27.9
67Zn 66.9271273(10) STABLE - 5/2- 0.875479 575.62 4.1
68Zn 67.9248442(10) STABLE - 0+ N/A 586.49 18.75
69Zn 68.9265503(10) 56.4(9) min ß- to 69Ga 1/2- N/A 592.71 -
70Zn 69.9253193(21) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 601.72 0.62
71Zn 70.927722(11) 2.45(10) min ß- to 71Ga 1/2- N/A 607.94 -
72Zn 71.926858(7) 46.5(1) h ß- to 72Ga 0+ N/A 616.95 -
73Zn 72.92978(4) 23.5(10) s ß- to 73Ga (1/2)- N/A 622.23 -
74Zn 73.92946(5) 95.6(12) s ß- to 74Ga 0+ N/A 630.31 -
75Zn 74.93294(8) 10.2(2) s ß- to 75Ga (7/2+)# N/A 635.59 -
76Zn 75.93329(9) 5.7(3) s ß- to 76Ga 0+ N/A 642.74 -
77Zn 76.93696(13) 2.08(5) s ß- to 77Ga (7/2+)# N/A 648.02 -
78Zn 77.93844(10) 1.47(15) s ß- to 78Ga 0+ N/A 654.24 -
79Zn 78.94265(28)# 0.995(19) s ß- to 79Ga; ß- + n to 78Ga (9/2+) N/A 658.59 -
80Zn 79.94434(18) 545(16) ms ß- to 80Ga; ß- + n to 79Ga 0+ N/A 664.81 -
81Zn 80.95048(32)# 290(50) ms ß- to 81Ga; ß- + n to 80Ga 5/2+# N/A 667.29 -
82Zn 81.95442(54)# 100# ms [>300 ns] ß- to 82Ga 0+ N/A 671.65 -
83Zn 82.96103(54)# 80# ms [>300 ns] Unknown 5/2+# N/A 673.2 -
Zinc Elemental Symbol

Recent Research & Development for Zinc

  • 5-Arylvinyl-2,2'-bipyridyls: Bright "push-pull" dyes as components in fluorescent indicators for zinc ions. 2015 Oct 1 Zhu L, Younes AH, Yuan Z, Clark RJ. J Photochem Photobiol A Chem. 2015 Oct 1
  • MicroRNA-144 regulates proliferation, invasion, and apoptosis of cells in malignant solitary pulmonary nodule via zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 1. 2015 May 1 Zhang G, An H, Fang X. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015 May 1
  • Retinopathy Induced by Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles in Rats Assessed by Micro-computed Tomography and Histopathology. 2015 Jun Kim YH, Kwak KA, Kim TS, Seok JH, Roh HS, Lee JK, Jeong J, Meang EH, Hong JS, Lee YS, Kang JS. Toxicol Res. 2015 Jun
  • Effects of Different Zinc Species on Cellar Zinc Distribution, Cell Cycle, Apoptosis and Viability in MDAMB231 Cells. 2015 Jul 23 Wang YH, Zhao WJ, Zheng WJ, Mao L, Lian HZ, Hu X, Hua ZC. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2015 Jul 23
  • Fluctuation of potential zinc status biomarkers throughout a reproductive cycle of primiparous and multiparous sows. 2015 Jul 22 van Riet MM, Millet S, Nalon E, Langendries KC, Cools A, Ampe B, Du Laing G, Tuyttens FA, Maes D, Janssens GP. Br J Nutr. 2015 Jul 22
  • Comparison of ferrous sulfate, polymaltose complex and iron-zinc in iron deficiency anemia. 2015 Jul 22 Ozsurekci Y, Unal S, Cetin M, Gumruk F. Minerva Pediatr. 2015 Jul 22
  • Anti-zinc transporter protein 8 autoantibodies significantly improve the diagnostic approach to type 1 diabetes: an Italian multicentre study on paediatric patients. 2015 Jul 21 Fabris M, Zago S, Liguori M, Trevisan MT, Zanatta M, Comici A, Zanette G, Carlin E, Curcio F, Tonutti E. Auto Immun Highlights. 2015 Jul 21
  • Zinc Finger Protein Binding to DNA: An Energy Perspective Using Molecular Dynamics Simulation and Free Energy Calculations on Mutants of both Zinc Finger Domains and their Specific DNA bases. 2015 Jul 21 Hamed MY, Arya G. J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2015 Jul 21
  • Luminescence and advanced mass spectroscopic characterization of sodium zinc orthophosphate phosphor for low-cost light-emitting diodes. 2015 Jul 21 Mishra S, Swati G, Rajesh B, Tyagi K, Gahtori B, Sivaiah B, Vijayan N, Dalai MK, Dhar A, Auluck S, Jayasimhadri M, Haranath D. Luminescence. 2015 Jul 21
  • Diastereoselective, Zinc-Catalyzed Alkynylation of α-Bromo Oxocarbenium Ions. 2015 Jul 21 Haidzinskaya T, Kerchner HA, Liu J, Watson MP. Org Lett. 2015 Jul 21
  • Assessment of the genotoxic potential of two zinc oxide SOURCES (amorphous and nanoparticles) using the in VITRO micronucleus test and the IN VIVO wing somatic test. 2015 Jul 16 de Melo Reis É, Alves de Rezende AA, Santos DV, Francielli de Oliveria P, Nicolella HD, Tavares DC, Almeida Silva AC, Dantas NO, Spanó MA. Food Chem Toxicol. 2015 Jul 16
  • Density Functional Theory Study of Atomic Layer Deposition of zinc oxide on Graphene. 2015 Dec Ali AA, Hashim AM. Nanoscale Res Lett. 2015 Dec