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Chemical Elements

Zirconium

transition elements, metallic element, hydrofluoric acid, Occurence, atomic weight

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Zirconium, symbol Zr, metallic element with an atomic number of 40. Zirconium is one of the transition elements of the periodic table. The element was discovered in a gemstone in 1789 by the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth and isolated 1824 by the Swedish chemist Baron Jons Jacob Berzelius. The gemstone’s color may have inspired the element’s name, which is similar to the Arabic word zargun, “gold color.”

Properties and Occurence

In its pure state zirconium exists in two forms: the crystalline form, a soft, white, ductile metal; and the amorphous form, a bluish-black powder. Both forms are insoluble in water, slightly soluble in alcohol, and completely soluble in hydrofluoric acid. The metal burns in air at 500°C (932°F).

Zirconium ranks about 18th in abundance among the elements in Earth’s crust. Zirconium melts at about 1855°C (about 3371°F), boils at about 4409°C (about 7968°F), and has a specific gravity of 6.5. The atomic weight of the element is 91.22.

Zirconium is never found free in nature; it occurs chiefly as a silicate in the mineral zircon and as an oxide in the mineral baddeleyite, which is found in commercial quantities in Brazil. Zirconium ores also contain the element hafnium, a metal with properties similar to those of zirconium.



Article key phrases:

transition elements, metallic element, hydrofluoric acid, Occurence, atomic weight, atomic number, Zirconium, periodic table, gold color, silicate, specific gravity, gemstone, crust, abundance, oxide, alcohol, Brazil, Earth, elements, nature, Properties, water, air, white, forms

 
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