Zinc

Written by J.A Dobado | Last Updated on April 22, 2024

Zinc element periodic table

Zinc is a chemical element with the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is a bluish-white, lustrous, and ductile metal that belongs to the transition metals group in the periodic table.

Zinc was used in India and China hundreds of years before the German chemist Andreas Marggraf identified it as a new element in the 18th century. This element is a rare transition metal that is never found in a pure state in nature, but is present in many minerals. The sphalerite mineral, which contains zinc sulfide, ZnS, is the main source of pure zinc. It is extracted from sphalerite through a process called roasting and reduction.

Another major mineral, hemimorphite, contains zinc and silicon. Zinc is essential in our diet. We consume it from foods such as cheese and sunflower seeds. Zinc compounds have a wide range of applications. For example, zinc oxide, ZnO is used in first aid tape and sunscreen. ZnO is also used to harden the rubber in boots and tires. ZnS is used to make some glow-in-the-dark paints. When pure zinc is exposed to air, the metal reacts with oxygen to form a protective oxide coating. This coating can prevent zinc-coated objects, such as bridges, from corroding easily.

Zinc is used in the production of galvanized steel and other alloys, as a component of certain medications, and in the production of brass and other alloys. It is also used in the production of certain chemicals, and in the manufacturing of ceramics and glass.

Zinc element periodic table

Electron configuration

The electron configuration of an element describes the arrangement of electrons in the atoms of that element, and be used to predict its chemical properties and reactivity.

In the electron configuration notation, the letters "s", "p", "d", and "f" represent the different types of atomic orbitals, and the superscripts indicate the number of electrons in each orbital. The orbitals are filled in a specific order, starting with the lowest energy orbital and working up.

electron configuration of element Zn

Emission spectra

Each element in the periodic table presents its own unique emission spectra, which is determined by the energy levels of its electrons. When an electron in an atom is excited to a higher energy level, it can de-excite by emitting a photon of light with an energy equal to the difference between the two levels. This results in a characteristic emission line in the spectra (which corresponds to specific wavelengths of light). These spectra are usefull to identify the elements present in a sample.

emmision spectra of element Zn

Symmary of properties (Zn)

Atomic weight65.38(2)
Discoverer (year)Andreas Marggraf (ancient)
Natural formmetallic solid (hexagonal)
Electron configuration[Ar] 3d10 4s2
M.p. (ºC)420
B.p. (ºC)907
Earth's crust abundance (ppm)70
Isotope (abundance %)64Zn (49.17), 66Zn (27.73), 67Zn (4.04), 68Zn (18.45), 70Zn (0.61)
Density (g/cm3)7.13
vdW radius (pm)201
Covalent radius (pm)120
Electronegativity (Pauling)1.81
Vaporisation enthalpy (Kj/mol)115.50
Fusion enthalpy (kJ/mol)7.32
Specific heat capacity (J/g·K) at 25ºC and 1 at0.39
Thermal conductivity (W/cm·K) at 25 ºC and 1 at1.160
Oxidation number2
Electronic affinity (eV)unstable ion
1st Ionization energy (eV)9.3942

Definition of terms in the previous table

  • Atomic weight: The average mass of an element's atoms, typically given in atomic mass units (amu).
  • Natural form: The most stable and abundant form of an element that occurs naturally in the environment.
  • Electron configuration: The arrangement of electrons in an atom or molecule.
  • Melting point: The temperature at which a solid substance turns into a liquid.
  • Boiling point: The temperature at which a liquid substance turns into a gas.
  • Earth's crust abundance (ppm): The concentration of an element in the Earth's crust, typically given in parts per million (ppm).
  • Isotope (abundance %): A variant of an element that has the same number of protons in the nucleus, but a different number of neutrons. The abundance of an isotope is the percentage of the isotope in a sample of the element.
  • Density (g/cm3): The mass of a substance per unit volume.
  • vdW radius (pm): The radius of an atom or molecule as predicted by the van der Waals model, typically given in picometers (pm).
  • Covalent radius (pm): The distance from the center of an atom to the center of another atom with which it is bonded covalently, typically given in picometers (pm).
  • Electronegativity (Pauling): A measure of an atom's ability to attract electrons in a chemical bond, based on the Pauling scale.
  • Vaporisation enthalpy (kJ/mol): The amount of energy required to convert a substance from a liquid to a gas at a constant temperature.
  • Fusion enthalpy (kJ/mol): The amount of energy required to convert a substance from a solid to a liquid at a constant temperature.
  • Specific heat capacity (J/g·K) at 25ºC and 1 at: The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of a substance by 1 degree Celsius at a constant pressure.
  • Thermal conductivity (W/cm·K) at 25 ºC and 1 at: The ability of a substance to conduct heat, typically given in watts per centimeter per kelvin.
  • Oxidation number: A positive or negative integer that represents the number of electrons that an atom has gained or lost in a chemical compound.
  • Electronic affinity: The energy change associated with adding an electron to a neutral atom to form a negative ion.
  • 1st Ionization energy: The energy required to remove the most loosely bound electron from a neutral atom.
 

Back to the Periodic Table of the Elements.

Shares