Zinc (Zn)

Stable isotopes of zinc available from ISOFLEX

Isotope Z(p) N(n) Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Enrichment Level Chemical Form
Zn-64 29  35  63.929146 48.60%  >99.00% Metal
Zn-64 29 35 63.929146 48.60% >99.00% Oxide
Zn-66  29  37  65.926036 27.90%  ≥98.70% Metal
Zn-66 29 37 65.926036 27.90% ≥98.70% Oxide
Zn-67 29 38 66.927131 4.10% ≥89.60% Metal
Zn-67 29 38 66.927131 4.10% ≥89.60% Oxide
Zn-67 29 38 66.927131 4.10% ≥89.60% Sulphate
Zn-68 29 39 67.924847 18.80% ≥98.20% Metal
Zn-68 29 39 67.924847 18.80% ≥98.20% Oxide
Zn-70 29 41 69.925325 0.60% >95.00% Metal
Zn-70 29 41 69.925325 0.60% ≥98.70% Oxide

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Zinc was discovered in 1746 by Andreas Marggraf. It takes its name from the German word zink, which means “point” or “tine” and refers to the form of zinc crystals after smelting. Centuries earlier, zinc ores were used for making brass, a mixture of copper and zinc.

Zinc is a shining white metal with a bluish-gray luster (called “spelter”) and is brittle at room temperature. It is a good conductor of electricity, is soluble in acids and alkalis, and is insoluble in water. It has a hexagonal close-packed structure. Zinc is diamagnetic and is also highly electropositive, replacing less electropositive metals from their aqueous salt solutions or melts. The metal is attacked by mineral acids. Reactions with sulfuric and hydrochloric acids produce hydrogen.

Zinc is attacked by moist air at room temperatures. Dry air causes no reaction at ambient temperatures, but the metal combines with dry oxygen rapidly above 225 ºC. Zinc reacts with carbon dioxide in the presence of moisture at ordinary temperatures, forming a hydrated basic carbonate. The metal, on heating with dry halogen gases, yields zinc halides. However, in the presence of moisture, the reaction occurs rapidly at ambient temperatures. The metal dissolves in hot solutions of caustic alkalis to form zincates and to evolve hydrogen.

Some important applications of zinc include galvanizing steel, producing die castings, as a chemical addition to rubber and paints, in dry cells, in making electrodes, and as a reducing agent. Zinc forms numerous alloys, including brass, nickel silver, German silver, commercial bronze, soft solder, aluminum solder and spring brass. Zinc is also an essential nutrient element required for the growth of animals.

As an essential nutrient, zinc is not regarded as toxic. However, the metal fumes, oxide fumes and chloride fumes can produce adverse inhalation effects. Ingestion of soluble salts can cause nausea. 

Properties of Zinc

Name Zinc 
Symbol Zn 
Atomic number 30 
Atomic weight 65.39 
Standard state Solid at 298 °K 
CAS Registry ID 7440-66-6 
Group in periodic table 12 
Group name None 
Period in periodic table
Block in periodic table d-block 
Color Bluish pale gray 
Classification Metallic 
Melting point 419.6 °C
Boiling point 907 °C
Vaporization point 907 ºC
Thermal conductivity 116 W/(m·K) at 298.2 °K 
Electrical resistivity 5.92 µΩ·cm at 20 °C 
Electronegativity 1.6 
Specific heat 0.39 kJ/kg K 
Heat of vaporization 119 kJ·mol-1
Heat of fusion 7.35 kJ·mol-1 
Density of solid 7.14 g/cm3 
Electron configuration  [Ar]3d104s2 
Atomic radius  1.34 Å 
Ionic radius 0.60 Å (coordination number 4) and 0.74 Å (coordination number 6)
Oxidation state  +2 

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