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Zinc-The key to preventing corrosion

March 10, 2011

Centuries before it was identified as an element, zinc was used to make brass (an alloy of zinc and copper) and for medicinal purposes. Metallic zinc and zinc oxide were produced in India sometime between the 11th and 14th centuries and in China in the 17th century, although the discovery of pure metallic zinc is credited to the German chemist Andreas Marggraf, who isolated the element in 1746.

Refined zinc metal is bluish-white when freshly cast; it is hard and brittle at most temperatures and has relatively low melting and boiling points. Zinc alloys readily with other metals and is chemically active. On exposure to air, it develops a thin gray oxide film (patina), which inhibits deeper oxidation (corrosion) of the metal. The metal's resistance to corrosion is an important characteristic in its use.

Publication Year 2011
Title Zinc-The key to preventing corrosion
DOI 10.3133/fs20113016
Authors S. J. Kropschot, Jeff L. Doebrich
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Fact Sheet
Series Number 2011-3016
Index ID fs20113016
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Mineral Resources Program Coordinator