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Zirconium is a metallic transition element in Group IVb of periodic table; symbol Zr, hard, malleable, ductile, lustrous, silvery gray; atomic number 40; atomic mass 91.224; melting point ca 1,852°C; boiling point ca 4,377°C; specific gravity 6.56 g/cm3; valence +2,+3 or +4; electronic config. [Kr]4d25s2. It is light but Its hardness is similar to copper. It has a hexagonal close-packed crystalline structure resembles titanium. It is insoluble in water, soluble in hot or concentrated acids, flammable as powder. Zirconium is mainly (almost 90% among whole zirconium production) used in nuclear reactors due to its property of low absorption for thermal neutrons, in addition to its extremely resistance to heat and corrosion. It is applied in tubes for cladding uranium oxide fuel. Zirconium is a fairly abundant element and the chief ore is zircon (neosilicate mineral occurring in tetragonal prisms, ZrSiO4, also known as hyacinth; jacinth; zirconite) which contains Zirconium and hafnium at a ratio of about 50 : 1. Hafnium which absorbs neutrons readily should be removed for the usage of zirconium in nuclear reactors. The other ores are baddeleyite (the oxide), monazite, ilmenite, and rutile. Zirconium is usually alloyed with other metals to make corrosion-resistant alloys. The chief comsumption in chemical industry field is for piping against corrosion, in ceramic, refractory compounds, pyrotechnics, welding fluxes, and explosives. Zirconium compounds are also used in TiO2 pigment coating and leather tanning.
Zirconium (IV) hydroxide is often called hydrous zirconia. It has an indeterminate chemical formula often described as ZrO2.nH2O. The formula ZrO2.2H2O being written as Zr(OH)4 gives rise to its description as a hydroxide. The compound is a toxic, amorphous white powder which is insoluble in water, but is soluble in dilute mineral acids.
PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL PROPERTIES
|PHYSICAL STATE||White filter cake|
|SOLUBILITY IN WATER||
|STABILITY||Stable under normal conditions|
It is primarily used as in intermediate for the manufacture of zirconium compounds. It is also used in pigments, glass and dyes.