By: Connor Willwerth
History of Zirconium
Uses of Zirconium
An important use is in nuclear power plants. Zircon, its main compound, is used for many industrial applications and can be obtained in gem stone form.
Isotopes of Zirconium
There are 5 naturally occurring isotopes, Zirconium-90, Zirconium-91, Zirconium-92, Zirconium-94 and Zirconium-96. They don’t have many different applications then the basic form. There’s also about 12 different radioactive isotopes of Zirconium, with no practical uses.
Compounds of Zirconium
Two most common compounds are Zircon and Zirconia. Naturally occurring Zircon is in demand for gemstones. Natural Zircon includes uranium, thorium and other radioactive elements. These radioactive elements give it a fire like appearance, resembling diamonds.
Properties of Zirconium and Identification
Atomic Mass: 91
Atomic Radius in picometers (pm): 160pm
Melting Point: 2127 K
Boiling Point: 4679 K
At room temperature (22°C): Solid
Appearance: A hard silvery metal, resistant to corrosion, shiny, surface is flaky
Conductivity: Low electric conductivity
Malleability: Very malleable
Hardness: Similar to copper
Flammability: When at a solid state, it is known to combust when coming in contact with oxygen. In this state, it is powdery, this is the only flammable state.
Reactivity: When it reacts with oxygen, forms a thin layer of Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2) which protects form further corrosion. Doesn’t react with cold acids or water.
Atomic Number: 40
Mass Number: 91.224
Location on the Periodic Table:
Beneath titanium, to the right of yttrium, above hafnium, to the left of niobium. It is in the fourth column.
- Element Card: Gray, Theodore W. (2008). The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements.
- Elements Book: Gray, Theodore W. (2009). The Elements: A visual exploration of every known atom in the universe. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.