Zinc is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30


What is Zinc?

Zinc is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. What is zinc? What are the health benefits?

The elemental composition of zinc in the earth’s crust is about 75 ppm (0.007%). This makes zinc the 24th most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Soil contains about 5–770 ppm zinc with an average of 64 ppm. While in seawater the zinc content is 30 ppb and in the atmosphere the levels are only 0.1–4 g/m3.

Health benefits of zinc

Helps form many enzymes and proteins and makes new cells. Frees vitamin A from storage in the liver. Needed for the immune system, taste, smell, and wound healing. When taken with certain antioxidants, zinc may delay the development of age-related macular degeneration (a small, round area located at the back of the retina).

Zinc Physical

It is a bluish-white, lustrous, and diamagnetic metal. However, most commercial grade zinc is not lustrous. Zinc is slightly less dense than iron and has a hexagonal crystalline structure.

The metal is hard and brittle at most temperatures, but becomes malleable between 100 and 150 °C. Above 210 °C, the metal again becomes brittle and can be crushed into powder by pounding it. Zinc is also capable of conducting electricity. Compared to other metals, zinc has a relatively low melting point (420 °C) and boiling point (900 °C). And in fact, the melting point of this metal is the lowest among all the transition metals apart from mercury and cadmium.

There are many alloys that contain zinc. One example is brass (an alloy of zinc and copper). Other metals also known to form alloys with zinc are aluminum, antimony, bismuth, gold, iron, lead, mercury, silver, tin, magnesium, cobalt, nickel, tellurium, and sodium. Although neither zinc nor zirconium is ferromagnetic, the ZrZn2 alloy exhibits ferromagnetism below 35 Kelvin.

History of Zinc

Brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc, has been in use since at least the 10th century BC. Impure zinc metal began to be produced on a large scale in the 13th century in India, when this metal was not known by Europeans until the end of the 16th century. Alchemists burned zinc to produce what they called “white snow” or “philosopher’s wool.”

German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf is generally credited with discovering pure metallic zinc in 1746. The work of Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta revealed the electrochemical properties of zinc in 1800.

Zinc Compound

Most metalloids and nonmetals can form binary compounds with zinc, with the exception of the noble gases. ZnO oxide is a white powder that is almost insoluble in neutral solutions. It is amphoteric and soluble in strong acids and bases.

Other chalcogenides such as ZnS, ZnSe, and ZnTe have many applications in electronics and optics. Pnictogenides (Zn3N2Zn3P2Zn3As2 dan Zn3Sb2), ZnO2 peroxides, ZnH2 hydrides, and ZnC2 carbides are also known to exist.

Of the four halide elements, ZnF2 has the most ionic properties, while the rest (ZnCl2ZnBr2, dan ZnI2) have low melting points and are considered more covalent.

Weak base solution

In a weak base solution containing Zn2+ ions, the hydroxide of zinc Zn(OH)2 forms as a white precipitate. In a more alkaline solution, this hydroxide will dissolve in the form [Zn(OH)4]2− Nitrate compound (NO3)2, chlorate (ClO3)2, sulfate ZnSO4, phosphate Zn3(PO4)2, molybdate ZnMoO4, cyanide Zn(CN)2, arsenite Zn(AsO2)2, arsenate Zn(AsO4)2•8H2O and ZnCrO4 chromate are some examples of inorganic zinc compounds. One of the simplest organic compounds of zinc is the acetate compound Zn(O2CCH3)2.


Organozinc compounds are compounds that contain zinc-carbon covalent bonds. Diethylzinc ((C2H5)2Zn) is one of the reagents in synthetic chemistry. This compound was first reported in 1848 from the reaction of zinc with ethyl iodide and was the first compound known to have a metal-carbon sigma bond. Dekamethyldizincosene contains strong covalent zincs bonds at room temperature.

Uses of Zinc in Daily Life

In everyday life, zinc is also meant as a zinc plate used as a building material.

Coatings on steel to prevent rust are its main application. Other applications include its use on batteries and alloys. There are various types of zinc compounds that can be found, such as zinc carbonate and zinc gluconate (food supplements), zinc chloride (in deodorants), zinc pirition (in anti-dandruff shampoos), zinc sulfide (in fluorescent paints), and zinc methyl or zinc diethyl. in the organic laboratory.

It is an essential mineral substance that is very important for the body. There are about two billion people in developing countries who are deficient in zinc intake.

This deficiency can also cause many diseases. In children, this deficiency causes impaired growth, affects sexual maturation, is susceptible to infections, diarrhea, and annually causes the death of about 800,000 children worldwide. Excessive zinc consumption can cause ataxia (symptoms of reduced coordination of muscle movements), weakness, and copper deficiency.

The important role of ZINC in our body

It is a trace element, that is, a mineral salt that is present in small proportions in our body. However, it has an important role: stimulation of immune defenses, protection against cell aging, maintenance of the quality of skin, nails and hair…

A healthy and varied diet allows in most physiological situations to compensate for daily zinc requirements. However, certain situations can favor a deficiency and it can be useful to know the level of zinc present in our body.

What is zinc?

It is a trace element (bio elements present in all living things), meaning that mineral salts are present in very small amounts in our bodies. This element is no less important. Like other trace elements, our bodies cannot produce them, so they will be provided by food.

The human body contains about 2.5 grams of zinc, mainly stored in organs (liver, pancreas, prostate in men, eyes, adrenal glands etc.) and skin.

What are the roles of this element?

It has many roles, one of which is to:

  • Stimulation of immune defense
  • Better wound healing
  • Important role in cellular metabolism by enabling the functioning of many enzymes
  • Play a role in the growth and development of children and fetuses during pregnancy
  • Participation in DNA and protein synthesis
  • Keeps skin, hair and nails in good condition
  • Role in sight, taste and smell
  • Essential antioxidant activity.
What are the effects of zinc deficiency?

Major deficiency is rare and affects mainly developing countries. Indeed, a healthy and varied diet usually provides adequate amounts of zinc for our bodies.

Because of the need for additional zinc, certain physiological situations can lead to deficiency: growing children or pregnant women, for example.

Because zinc is provided by food, malnourished subjects (eg the elderly), anorexic patients or patients suffering from malabsorption syndromes (eg celiac disease) may also exhibit insufficient zinc levels.

The effects of deficiency on the body vary: growth retardation in children, increased risk of complications in pregnant women, hair loss and brittle nails, skin problems such as acne, delayed healing or psoriasis.

In contrast, overdose is not known to have a major toxic effect but may be accompanied by copper deficiency. This is why long-term zinc intake must be accompanied by copper intake.

An ally for our skin

Zinc is concentrated in significant proportions in the skin. It participates in particular in the production of collagen. Collagen is an abundant protein in the structure of the skin, it maintains its rigidity and elasticity, prevents sagging of tissues.

Due to its other antioxidant activity, zinc may play a role in skin aging protection.

Collagen also plays a role in wound healing. It is for this reason that zinc indirectly helps speed up the healing process.

Zinc intake will help in the treatment of moderate acne. The anti-inflammatory properties of zinc at the skin level and its regulatory action on the sebaceous glands will be the origin of its activity. Thus there are drugs or zinc-based dietary supplements that are indicated to treat acne.

In addition to the usual treatment, it can also be effective in psoriasis patients who by excessive and too fast renewal of epidermal cells.

What foods contain the most zinc?

Our bodies assimilate less than half the zinc contained in our diet. Many foods contain it, but oysters contain the most.

It can be found in all types of food: in red or white meat, organ meats, whole grains, legumes and cereals, seafood, especially mollusks.

Read also: Whole Grain | Varieties and Health benefits effects

Can you easily find out your zinc level?

A simple blood test in your laboratory can allow you to measure this metal in your body and thus find out if you are deficient.

Th physical properties

Physical properties
Phase at STPsolid
Melting point692.68 K ​(419.53 °C, ​787.15 °F)
Boiling point1180 K ​(907 °C, ​1665 °F)
Density (near r.t.)7.14 g/cm3
when liquid (at m.p.)6.57 g/cm3
Heat of fusion7.32 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization115 kJ/mol
Molar heat capacity25.470 J/(mol·K)
Vapor pressure

P (Pa)1101001 k10 k100 k
at T (K)6106707508529901179

Atomic properties

Atomic properties
Oxidation states−2, 0, +1, +2 (an amphoteric oxide)
ElectronegativityPauling scale: 1.65
Ionization energies
  • 1st: 906.4 kJ/mol
  • 2nd: 1733.3 kJ/mol
  • 3rd: 3833 kJ/mol
  • (more)
Atomic radiusempirical: 134 pm
Covalent radius122±4 pm
Van der Waals radius139 pm

Other properties

Other properties
Natural occurrenceprimordial
Crystal structure​hexagonal close-packed (hcp)

Hexagonal close packed crystal structure for zinc
Speed of sound thin rod3850 m/s (at r.t.) (rolled)
Thermal expansion30.2 µm/(m⋅K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity116 W/(m⋅K)
Electrical resistivity59.0 nΩ⋅m (at 20 °C)
Magnetic orderingdiamagnetic
Molar magnetic susceptibility−11.4×10−6 cm3/mol (298 K)[2]
Young’s modulus108 GPa
Shear modulus43 GPa
Bulk modulus70 GPa
Poisson ratio0.25
Mohs hardness2.5
Brinell hardness327–412 MPa
CAS Number7440-66-6


Main isotopes of zinc
Iso­topeAbun­danceHalf-life (t1/2)Decay modePro­duct
65Znsyn244 dε65Cu
69Znsyn56 minβ69Ga
69mZnsyn13.8 hβ69Ga
71Znsyn2.4 minβ71Ga
71mZnsyn4 dβ71Ga
72Znsyn46.5 hβ72Ga

Periodic Table of Elements | Complete List of Chemical Elements by Group, Name, Symbol, Color and Type

Periodic Table of Elements | Complete List of Chemical Elements by Group, Name, Symbol, Color and Type

Information: Cleverly Smart is not a substitute for a doctor. Always consult a doctor to treat your health condition.

Sources: PinterPandai, Wikipedia, Mayo CLinic

Photo credit: Alchemist-hp (www.pse-mendelejew.de) Free Art License 1.3 via Wikimedia Commons

Photo description: zinc, purity 99.995 %, left: a crystaline fragment of an ingot, right: sublimed-dendritic, and a 1 cm3 zinc cube for a comparison.


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