Zinc is a metal that is found in the Earth’s crust. It is also present in air, water and the biosphere. Plants, animals and humans contain also contain zinc. Zinc is mined to extract it from the earth.
Twelve million tonnes of zinc are produced worldwide every year. More than half of this amount is used for galvanising to protect steel from corrosion. It is also the primary metal used to make American pennies.
Zinc plating involves a layer of zinc being electrodeposited on to another surface. Zinc coatings prevent oxidisation of a metal, as the zinc forms a barrier to the air. This means the other material is much more resistant to corrosion.
Properties and qualities
At room temperature, zinc is brittle and blue-white in colour and can be polished to a bright finish. It is malleable and ductile and does not corrode as easily as other metals, hence it is an excellent material for electroplating onto surfaces to protect them.
How does it feel?
Zinc is a hard, smooth material.
Products made from zinc or coated in zinc can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. For best results, refer to the care instructions on your zinc product.