Zinc Oxide (ZnO), is a fluffy, white, metal oxide powder that can be found in the mineral zincite, although it is usually produced synthetically. This inorganic compound has a very wide range of applications in various industries. The text below provides a quick summary of zinc oxide’s employment in a selection of these industries.
An important feed and fertilizer ingredient for a wide spectrum of living animals and plants- from pigs to peanuts!
Zinc oxide (in glazes) has mineral and chemical properties that enable it to allow other raw materials in the glaze melt smoothly, reduce thermal expansion, and stimulate crystalline or matte glaze effects. It is commonly used as a frit and is also a potent secondary flux material and has many other properties which make it of particular interest to many studying the intricacies and chemistry of ceramic glazes.
Some things to take caution with however, is the use of zinc oxide as a stand-alone flux and its complicated affects on colors.
With its wide band gap, transparency, UV reflecting, and antimicrobial properties, zinc oxide has found many uses in the making of specialty glass, for example, energy-saving glass windows. Zinc oxide is added in glass melt recipes to increase brilliance and thermal coefficient.
Medicinal & Personal Care
Although zinc oxide can be found in many personal lotions, ointments and powders, it is most well-known for its use in sun screen as both a UVA and UVB ray reflector. Additionally, zinc oxide is also known to have useful anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties, which certain medicinal and personal care products may take advantage of.
Plastic & Rubber
A large amount of zinc oxide is consumed by the rubber industry, where it helps with the vulcanization of natural/ unprocessed rubber. This process greatly improves the rubber or polymer material and gives it superior strength, durability, elasticity, and other desirable properties.
Zinc oxide is also added to plastic materials to give them greater stability, promote cross linking and curing, as a fire retardant additive, add UV and heat resistance as well as add mechanical properties to various plastics.
* It is easy to buy zincite crystals which are synthetically produced as a byproduct of zinc smelting.
* Zinc oxide’s UV ray reflecting power is useful in many other applications besides sunscreen; it is used to coat energy saving windows, create protective glasses, UV protected rubbers, and other special application materials.
* Galvanized iron coatings tend to chip and are less brittle when the coating contains zinc oxide.
* Zinc Oxide crystallizes in 2 main crystalline forms: cubic (zincblende), and hexagonal (wurtzite).
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Ceramics, Coating -paint, Glass, Medicinal, Personal Care, Plastic, Rubber