Zinc is one of the most important non-ferrous metal in engineering and industry. Because of Zinc’s specific properties, it is used in very important applications. In this article, we explained the production of Zinc from its natural source and properties fof Zinc alloys.
Like other non-ferrous metals, Zinc also has its natural ores. There are three types of ores of Zinc in earth. ‘Sphalerite’ is the most known ore of Zinc which includes very low portion of ZnS. ‘Smithsonite’ is and other important Zinc ore which has chemical composition of ZnCO3. ‘Hemiorphate’ is also another Zinc ore which has chemical composition of Zn4Si2O7OH-H2O.
There must be some special processes to obtain commercial pure Zinc from its ores. Sphalerite has very low composition of ZnS, so the concentration of ZnS must be elevated or its is called as ‘beneficated’. In this process, Zinc ore is crushed with water in ball mill then slurry is obtained. The obtained slurry is agitated with frothing agent, and unwanted minerals and other elements float on the top. These unwanted elements and minerals can be skimmed off from the Zinc slurry. That Zinc Sulfide is heated up to 1260 celsium degrees to obtain ZnO. This Zinc oxide is reacted with carbon in high temperatures to create CO and CO2, and pure Zn in vapor form. Electrolysis process is alsoapplied to obtain pure Zn.
Zinc alloys are used in some of automotive parts by means of mass production and other appliences production. One of the most important application of Zn is to produce Galvanized steel. Galvanic cell is built to plate the surface of steel with Zn to prevent steel from corrosion. Other important application of Zn is the production of Brass. As stated in article about copper in Mechanical Base, Brass is obtained by alloying Zn with Copper.
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