The periodic table Zirconium (Zr)

A series of articles on the different elements. The Lego blocks with which we, our earth and the matter of the universe are built all have their own specific properties. In this series we go through each element step by step and we look at some useful things the wikipedia has to say about it, along with an interesting video of the University of Nottingham with which various experiments are done with the element in question.

Today number 40 of the 118 elements, Zirconium (Zr).

Click on this to go to the wikipedia version where you can easily click through to the different elements



Zirconium is mainly used in industry as zircon (ZrSiO4) for making molds used in casting other metals and polishing ceramic materials. Zircon is also used as natural gemstone in jewelry. Other uses are:

  • Zirconium is a poor absorber for this neutrons. Therefore, it is alloyed with tin (zircalloy) or magnesium (UNGG reactors) widely used as a coating for fuel rods in nuclear installations. At abnormally high temperatures (approx. 1000 ° C), the zirconium in water-cooled reactors can react with water (or steam) from the primary circuit, oxidizing the zirconium and releasing explosive hydrogen gas. This also happened with the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in March 2011.
  • Because zirconium about good corrosion resistant properties, it is used in the chemical industry in pipelines through which chemicals are transported.
  • For military applications, zirconium is suitable in incendiary bombs because it burns very well at high temperatures in a finely divided state.
  • In alloys with niobium it forms at low temperatures superconductors and it is used in the production of superconductingmagnets.
  • Zirconium powder is used in the pyrotechnics used to get a white tail at a rocket. Alternatively, you can titaniumbeing used.

Applications of zirconium (IV) oxide

Zirconium (IV) oxide is mainly used as a ceramic material. Applications are:

  • As a basis (carrier) for crowns and bridges in dental technology. This base is then provided with baked porcelain with which the teeth are formed. As such, zirconium is increasingly replacing gold and other metals.
  • In laboratory glassware making it more heat resistant.
  • For manufacturing ceramic knives.
  • Zirconium (IV) oxide acts as a solid at 650 ° C electrolyte and is thus useful in measuring devices to measure the concentration of oxygen gas in other gases.

Remarkable features

Zirconium is lighter than steel and the hardness is similar to that of buyer. The metal is special corrosion resistant against many chemicals, but in finely divided state it burns in the presence of dioxygen. If smooth and stable zirconium is heated and irradiated for a long time, it becomes brittle and can start to powder, whereby it becomes flammable. At temperatures above 900 ° C, smooth-polished zirconium also quickly becomes brittle under water, after which it progressively oxidizes and further embers. This releases hydrogen, which further promotes embrittlement.[3] At temperatures below 35 K. become zirconiumzinc alloys magnetic.