You’ve might have heard and seen zirconium from various TV shows and documentaries, but what and where does this precious metal come from? To start, zirconium comes from the mineral zircon that belongs to the group of nesosilicates that are rock-forming minerals. This metal is usually used as a refractory and opacifier by industrial forgers and forging smiths.
History of Zirconium
Source of Zirconium
This silver-gray transition metal is often found and produced by mining and processing the titanium minerals ilmenite as well as rutile. Some of the major mining sites of zirconium can be found in Australia, South Africa, the USA, Russia, and Brazil. It can also be collected from coastal waters that have zircon-bearing sand which is then processed to separate the lighter materials.
Zirconium is derived from its raw material zircon which can be commonly found in the crust of the earth. This precious mineral can be seen in different colors, including reddish-brown, yellow, and colorless. Because of its solid composition, zircon is highly resistant to weathering and internal radiation damage.
Processing the Mineral
There are different processes involved in processing this mineral, the most common of which includes three processes which are extracting and refining the zircon, and finally refining the baddeleyite. After passing quality control, the processed and refined zirconium is then exported to different plants and machine refineries across the globe.
Uses of Zirconium
Zirconium alloys can be found in different metals such as pipes, heat exchangers, and even nuclear power plants. It is also used in steel alloys, colored glazes, and bricks, as well as in the making of artificial gemstones. Because of its malleable and ductile compounds, it can be highly resistant to corrosion and can be used in superconducting magnets.
Importance and Other Uses of Zirconium
Zirconium is undeniably an important metal that has many uses in both forgings and in medical applications. This compound has its uses even in biomedical applications, such as dental implants, crowns, and knee and hip replacements. Get to know more about this metal when you contact us today!