Zirconium The little known Gem

Adam Frommer

Bryan C Period

Zirconium, with an element symbol of Zr was used in stones in Ancient times, but was officially discovered as an element in 1789. After receiving the element from Sri Lanka, Martin Heinrich Klaproth examined Zirconium in Germany, but it only actually contained 70% of the element. It was only until 1824 that the element was isolated and 1925 when the element was finally created pure using the crystal bar process by Dutch scientists Anton Eduard van Arkel and Jan Hendrik de Boer. http://www.chemicool.com/elements/zirconium.html

Picture of Martin Heinrich Klaproth, discoverer of Zirconium https://www.britannica.com/biography/Martin-Heinrich-Klaproth

The name Zirconium comes from the Persian word zargun meaning "gold-like." Gold and Zirconium have many similar physical qualities such as texture, hardness, appearance, and state at room temperature. http://www.chemicool.com/elements/zirconium.html

Zirconium in Solid Form


Element Structure

Atomic Number: 40

Atomic mass: 91 amu

Number of protons: 40

Number of Neutrons: 51

Number of Electrons: 40

Stable Isotopes: Zr-90, Zr-91, Zr-92, Zr-94, Zr-96


Natural Sources

Zirconium is produced from the mineral Zircon, which is found in abundance on the moon. It is also found in S-type stars, and has been located on the Sun and meteorites. Deposits from these meteorites can be found all over the world.


Zirconium in a Meteorite https://hms-periodictable2013.wikispaces.com/Zirconium


90% of Zirconium used is for Nuclear Plants, "cladding" the reactor's fuel. It is also found in many deodorants as Aluminum Zirconium salt, and as a getter in vacuum tubes.

Zirconium Cladding in Nuclear Reactor http://www.areva.com/EN/operations-2294/zirconium-cladding-is-the-reactors-primary-safety-barrier.html


After Fe, Ti, and Mn, Zirconium is the next most abundant transition element.


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