The Facts About Zirconium

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facts about zirconium

The Facts About Zirconium

Are you looking for a metal that is extremely resistant to corrosion by acids, alkalis and salt water? At Special Metals, we provide a variety of metals, one of which is Zirconium. It is known for its resistive properties.

Because of these properties its sets itself apart from other metals and materials. Amongst these are its incredibly high melting temperature. Zirconium can withstand temperatures up to 1855°C and therefore it can be used for countless applications where other metals are not suitable.

What is Zirconium?

Zirconium metal is produced from the semi-precious gemstone Zircon, which is mined in countries all over the world. It is made by converting zircon to zirconium chloride. The metal is then made by adding magnesium to reduce the chloride.

Once reduced the metal has a silver, whitish grey colour. It is solid at room temperature which allows it to retain structure, strength and to be used in circumstances where the structural integrity of a solid metal must not be compromised.

Reducing and purifying the metal can be time-consuming, but the wait is worth it. Once pure, Zirconium is an incredibly useful commodity. It is definitely worth bearing with the process and due to the low unit cost, it is unlikely the metal will be a focus of thieves who target more valuable laboratory items – another advantage.

Uses for Zirconium

Zirconium Metal is often used for nuclear applications. This includes being placed in reactors for cladding which are used on fuel elements. Almost 90% of Zirconium production per year is distributed for use in the nuclear power industry.

Another industry where the use of Zirconium is popular is the chemical industry. Commonly chemical agents are used so the fact the metal is so resistive to corrosive elements means it is looked on favourably by companies in that sector.

Zirconium is also commonly used in the medical sector. When preserved with a thin passivation layer, which protects the metal from oxidation, it becomes ideal for implants such as knee or hip replacements.

Other uses include in the following:

  • Explosives
  • Vacuum tubes
  • Filament for lamps
  • Flashbulbs
  • As an opacifier

Zirconium Parts

Zirconium fabrication leads to us being able to provide several different parts and fittings for our customers. Each part can be produced to meet their exact specifications and requirements. They come in the following forms:

Each of the parts we provide are cast or moulded into the shape you need depending on your intended application. The flexibility of this metal allows our customers to take advantage of a truly bespoke service.

To learn more about Zirconium please do not hesitate to get in touch with our helpful, knowledgeable staff. The Special Metals team can answer any questions you have as well as providing you with details on the other materials and metals we stock, supply and manufacture.

To contact us give us a call on 01268 820409 or email sales@special-metals.co.uk. We will be more than happy to help you with any queries you have.

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