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Zinc,  30Zn
Zinc bar Zts16.jpg
A broken bar of pure zinc.(From zts16's collection)
General properties
Name, symbol Zinc, Zn
Appearance Silvery-bluish metal
Zinc in the periodic table


Atomic number 30
Standard atomic weight (Ar) 65.38(2)
Element category Transition metals
Post-transition metals (debated)
Group, block XII; d-block
Period period 4
Electron configuration [Ar] 3d10 4s2
per shell
2, 8, 18, 2
Physical properties
Silvery-gray, bluish
Phase Solid
Melting point 692.68 K ​(419.53 °C, ​787.15 °F)
Boiling point 1180 K ​(907 °C, ​​1665 °F)
Density near r.t. 7.14 g/cm3
when liquid, at  6.57 g/cm3
Heat of fusion 7.32 kJ/mol
Heat of 115 kJ/mol
Molar heat capacity 25.470 J/(mol·K)
Atomic properties
Oxidation states -2, 0, +1, +2 ​(an amphoteric oxide)
Electronegativity Pauling scale: 1.65
energies 1st: 906.4 kJ/mol
2nd: 1733.3 kJ/mol
3rd: 3833 kJ/mol
Atomic radius empirical: 134 pm
Covalent radius 122±4 pm
Van der Waals radius 139 pm
Crystal structure ​​hexagonal close-packed (hcp)
Speed of sound thin rod 3850 m/s (at ) (rolled)
Thermal expansion 30.2 µm/(m·K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity 116 W/(m·K)
Electrical resistivity 59.0 Ω·m (at 20 °C)
Magnetic ordering Diamagnetic
Young's modulus 108 GPa
Shear modulus 43 GPa
Bulk modulus 70 GPa
Poisson ratio 0.25
Mohs hardness 2.5
Brinell hardness 327–412 MPa
CAS Registry Number 7440-66-6
Discovery Indian metallurgists (<1000 B.C.)
First isolation Andreas Sigismund Marggraf (1746)
· references

Zinc is a transition metal with symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is a useful reducing agent which is readily available. It exists in the oxidation state +2 in solution and may be readily plated out of solution, despite its reducing tendencies. Its compounds are colorless due to the zinc ion's [Ar] 3d10 electron configuration, with a filled d-shell.


Physical properties

Zinc is a silvery metal with a bluish cast. Older pieces of zinc may appear to have a white coating of zinc oxide or zinc carbonate on the surface. It has a relatively low melting point of 420 °C.

Chemical properties

Zinc metal is stable in both air and water, but it will react readily with dilute acids. However, extremely pure zinc metal exhibits reduced reactivity towards acids. Zinc is amphoteric and will dissolve in strong bases to form zincates. Zinc dust burns in air with a greenish-white flame to form zinc oxide.

The potential for the reaction Zn2+ + 2e- → Zn is -0.76 V. Despite this, zinc metal can be plated out of solution without issues such as hydroxide formation.


United States pennies minted after 1982 are relatively pure zinc clad with copper. Because zinc melts at only 420 °C (787.2 °F), it can be melted and cast into the desired shape using a blowtorch or furnace. Though some copper impurities will likely remain, the large difference in the reactivity of the two metals means that most uses of zinc will be unaffected by this.

Zinc metal can be found at boating shops as sacrificial anodes for rust protection. These pieces may contain small amounts of cadmium metal in them, so they should be handled with care.

Zinc can also be found in wheel weights (aka tire balance), where it may also contain impurities such as aluminium, copper, lead, antimony or cadmium. Only the wheel weights labeled "Zn" contain zinc.

Zinc is commonly found in a variety of everyday items, in the form of zamak, a zinc-aluminium alloy. Unless you desire pure zinc, this form of zinc is suitable for most applications. If you want to extract the zinc metal from the alloy, dissolve the metal in NaOH or sulfuric acid and electroplate the metal from the solution

Zinc is used as a casing in most zinc-carbon batteries.

Zinc, chemically, can most commonly be purchased as zinc sulfate.


Zinc metal can be made by reducing zinc oxide with carbon in a furnace.

Zinc can be prepared via electrowinning from a diluted zinc sulfate solution.




Zinc is not very toxic by itself. Zinc sacrificial anodes, however, may contain the dangerous metal cadmium, which is notoriously difficult to remove. Zinc dust is flammable, and class-D fire extinguishers should be used to deal with these types of fires. Water may aggravate a zinc fire and should not be used.

Never consume zinc or its compounds, when produced in the laboratory, as a supplement.

Older grades of zinc, and those used in zinc-carbon batteries, may contain arsenic and lead. Upon melting, these emit arsenic compounds into the air as fumes, and are extremely hazardous. Take caution when melting an unknown-purity sample of zinc. Even the purest grades of zinc contain small but significant amounts of cadmium.


Bulk zinc metal can be stored in any type of container. It slowly develops an oxide layer which further protects from corrosion. Zinc powder should be stored in small bottles, away from open air.


Zinc and its compounds have little toxicity and no special disposal is required. Technical grade zinc however, may contain traces of heavy metals, and the zinc waste should be taken to disposal facilities.

See also


Relevant Sciencemadness threads