Zinc Oxide

Definition - What does Zinc Oxide mean?

Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound, white in color and is available in a powdered form. The chemical formula for zinc oxide is ZnO. It is insoluble in water and is primarily used as an additive in the manufacturing industries such as rubber (tire and other rubber materials production), plastics, cement, glass, ceramics, lubricants, adhesives, sealants and many more. Zinc oxide is produced synthetically but it is also available naturally in the form of zincite.

Corrosionpedia explains Zinc Oxide

Pure zinc oxide occurs as a white powder and is nearly insoluble in water; however it is completely soluble in acids such as hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid and fatty acids.

Properties of zinc oxide:

  • Molar mass – 81.38 grams per mole
  • Odor – odorless
  • Density – 5.606 grams per cubic cm
  • Melting and boiling point – 1975 °C (3587 °F)

Some popular applications for zinc oxide:

  • It is used as a corrosion prevention compound in pressurized nuclear water reactors. Zinc oxide is depleted in the zinc isotope having an atomic mass of 64, which further transforms into a zinc isotope having an atomic mass of 65 under radiation by nuclear neutrons. This conversion of zinc oxide helps prevent corrosion in the reactors.
  • It is used in methane reforming. Natural gas contains hydrogen sulfide, which is inadvisable to burn in the atmosphere. Zinc oxide reacts with hydrogen sulfide to form water and zinc sulfide, which can be removed easily from natural gas.
  • It is widely used in manufacturing rubber, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food and coatings.

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