Zinc is a naturally occurring, lustrous, bluish-white metallic element. Commonly it appears dull in many applications although in some it has a silvery appearance. It is the 24th most common element in the earth’s crust and it is essential for human growth (e.g. zinc deficiency in humans can cause birth defects, lead to delayed healing, cause skin irritation and loss of the sense of taste, to name a few). Zinc prevents rusting or corrosion of steel when applied as a protective surface coating by galvanising (electro-plating). Corroding steel loses surface flakes that detach and expose more steel to corrosion. Coating steel with zinc oxide provides a continuous surface layer that protects steel from corrosion. Zinc is also very malleable, making it an easy mineral to cast into many shapes.
Uses of zinc in our daily life
Zinc has many uses! It is perhaps most commonly known for it’s use in sun-screen lotions but it can also be used to combat colds, as an antiseptic ointment, in calamine lotion and anti-dandruff shampooed.
Its main uses are: galvanizing (50%); die-casting (17%); brass making (17%); miscellaneous (16%) such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, paint and coinage.