There are several chemical elements that are ubiquitous in nature. But did you know that zirconium belongs to this category? This chemical element is mainly discovered in sand and rock deposits, where it is mined and purified.It is a transition metal that closely resembles hafnium and, to a lesser extent, titanium. It is glossy, gray-white, strong, quickly creates stable compounds, and bendable and ductile.Another best feature of zirconium is that it has a high level of corrosion resistance. It is a strong metal that is included in several compounds used in various medical applications.
Zirconium Applications and Its Impact on the Environment
Although zirconium is not an especially rare element, it has a low degree of environmental mobility due to the fact that its most prevalent mineral, zircon, has a high water resistance. Zirconium is ten times more prevalent than lead and is twice as abundant as copper and zinc.The two main ores are baddeleyite (Zirconium oxide, ZrO2), mined in Brazil, and zircon (ZrSiO4), found in Australia, the United States, and Sri Lanka. Over 900,000 metric tons of zircon are generated worldwide each year, and 7000 metric tons of metal are created. And according to experts, over a billion metric ton of reserves are thought to exist. Large amounts of zircon and zirconia sands can be found in Australia, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and the USA.Based on in-depth research, it’s doubtful that zirconium will endanger the environment. Land plants have a weak tendency to adsorb soluble zirconium, whereas aquatic plants quickly absorb it. In fact, 70% of studied plants had no detectable zirconium.
Because it does not readily absorb neutrons, zirconium is employed in alloys like zircaloy, which are used in nuclear applications. This ubiquitous metal is also used in furnace bricks, percussion caps, and catalytic converters. In laboratory crucibles, baddeleyite, and impure zirconium (zirconia) are utilized.Refractories, ceramic opacification, and foundry sands are the three main applications for zircon (ZrSiO4). Additionally, zircon is promoted as a genuine gemstone for use in jewelry.Other applications for the metal include surgical instruments, photographic flashbulbs, television glass, the elimination of residual gases from electronic vacuum tubes, and hardening agents in alloys, particularly steel. Due to their superior water resistance and strength, zirconium compounds are slowly increasing their usage in the paper and packaging sectors as surface coatings.
Where to Get Zirconium Products
Since zirconium is ubiquitous in nature, it can be found in many products. Contact us today to learn more!