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March 12 2012 2 12 /03 /March /2012 14:41

I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Zinc will be discussed here.  


Zinc is a relatively soft, bluish colored metal from Group 12. It is sometimes considered a transition metal and sometimes a post-transition metal. Zinc is a relatively cheap and common metal with strong reducing properties. It is used to protect other metals from oxidation by oxidizing in their place, either as an outer coating or a separate chunk known as a sacrificial electrode. Zinc compounds are colorless and boring. Zinc's reaction with hydrochloric acid is well known. Zinc will react with many metal salts, precipitating the metal and forming a zinc salt. Therefore, zinc's biggest use in home chemistry is a reducing agent.


In element form: Brass has about 30% zinc in it. The casings of carbon-zinc batteries are pure zinc metal. Alkaline batteries contain zinc powder in their centers when fresh. Sacrificial anodes for boats are often made of zinc.


In compound form: Zinc oxide is a common white pigment. Zinc sulfide is used in glow-in-the-dark materials.


Here is my sample of zinc metal. It is a piece of zinc from a battery casing. The inside is kind of corroded, even in fresh batteries. The casing gets thinner as the battery gets depleted.



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Published by LanthanumK - in Elements
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