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Zinc

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Zinc is a chemical element with atomic number 30.  Its symbol is Zn.

Zinc is solid at room temperature.  It is a moderately reactive metal, that combines with oxygen and other non-metals; it reacts with diluted acids generating hydrogen.  The only state of oxidation of zinc is +2.
In the presence of ditizone, it assumes a strong red color.  Zinc is an essential trace element, found in the human body in amounts higher than any other oligoelement except iron.

Zinc alloys have been used for centuries:  brass is undoubtedly the oldest, and objects in this alloy were used  in Palestine since 1400 to 1000 B.C.  Pure Zinc 87% objects have been found in prehistoric Transilvania.  Due to the low boiling point and to chemical reactivity of this metal (pure zinc tends to evaporate rather than adopt a liquid form) the true metallic nature of this metal was not recognized by the ancient world.

Zinc is the 23rd element and is abundant in the Earth’s crust; zinc deposits most exploited usually contain 10% iron and 40%-50% zinc.  The mineral of which zinc is extracted are sphalerite, blende, smithsonite, calamine and franklinite.

There exist zinc mines all over the world, but the main producers are Australia, Canada, China, Perù and the United States.  In Europe the two most important mines are Vieille Montagne in Belgium and Zinkgruvan in Sweden.


 
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