Zinc Frequently Asked Questions, Answered | Metal by the Metre

Zinc is a chemical element represented by the symbol Zn. It is blue/white in colour when in a room temperature environment, but can be polished to a bright shiny finish. Zinc is a base metal, and is often used to galvanise steel, protecting it from corrosion. This element is very weak in tensile strength1, and can be quite brittle. When heated between 100 and 150 degrees celcius, it becomes quite malleable. If heated any more, Zinc can return to its brittle state.

Zinc is used in your everyday life, it is a major part of batteries! We have answered some commonly asked questions about this element below.

Is Zinc Corrosion Resistant?

Sort of– Zinc corrodes at a much slower rate than other metals. It is corrosion resistant and is often used to protect other metals from corrosion in a process called galvanisation. Zinc basically sacrifices itself for the good of another metal. It will corrode very slowly, and the other metal will remain unharmed.

Can Zinc be Recycled?

Yes– Zinc can be recycled but it is often a very difficult process. This is because a majority of zinc being recycled, is found galvanised on other metals. When being recycled, it must be removed from the attached metal. It is estimated that 40% of zinc used worldwide is recycled.

Is Zinc a Good Conductor?

Yes- All metals are conductors of electricity, however to varying degrees. According to the International Annealed Copper Standard mentioned in the article “Which Metals Conduct Electricity”, silver has 105% conductivity, where Zinc has between 27%. Zinc is used in batteries to conduct electricity, and is good at its job. Zinc’s electrochemical properties help in its galvanisation abilities.

Can Zinc Melt?

Yes– it melts at approximately 419.5 Degrees Celcius.

1– Tensile Strength refers to the capacity of a material to resist tension / being pulled apart. High Tensile Strength means a high tension resistance.