What is Zinc?
Zinc is a metallic element, with a periodic table of elements symbol Zn and an atomic number of 30. Zinc is also commonly known as spelter.
It is widely believed that Zinc was first named by the alchemist Paracelsus (1493-1541) after the Geman word Zinke, meaning ‘sharp or jagged edge’. However, the discovery of pure metallic zinc is usually given credit to German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf in 1746.
Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the planet. Pure zinc has the characteristic of being bluish-white, lustrous metal that is brittle when in room temperature, but malleable at 100 ‘“ 150 degrees Celsius. Additionally, zinc is very reactive and will combine easily with other elements. Zinc is also a good conductor of electricity.
Today, there are many practical uses for zinc, from cosmetics to dietary supplements, the reason why zinc is the 4th most used metal in the world, behind iron, copper and aluminum. Zinc is an important anti-corrosion agent and one of its most practical applications is in galvanization for steel and iron (preventing it from rusting). Zinc is also an important component in sunscreen (zinc oxide) because of its property to scatter and absorb UV light.
Likewise, zinc is also an important dietary component, responsible for keeping the immune system healthy. Zinc also plays an important role in cell division and regeneration, and is widely accepted as an antioxidant. Zinc is usually found in large proportions in red meats, peanuts and legumes.