The history of zirconium

Zirconium is a greyish-white metallic element. It has chemical symbol Zr, and the atomic number 40 and is in the d block of the periodic table. Just below titanium.

The zirconium-containing mineral zircon, is the most well known, but its variants, jargon, hyacinth and jacinth, have been known for thousands of years, they were even mentioned in biblical writings. Zirconium naturally combines with silica and oxygen to form zircon.

The name zircon probably originated from the Arabic zarkun or from Persian zargun meaning like gold.

The existence of a new element within these minerals was not suspected until studies by Martin Heinrich Klaproth in 1789 when he analyzed a jargon from Ceylon. He named the new element Zirkonertz (zirconia).

The impure metal was first isolated by Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1824 after heating a mixture of potassium and potassium zirconium fluoride together in an iron tube. Pure zirconium was not isolated until 1914.

The crystal bar process, invented by Anton Eduard van Arkel and Jan Hendrik de Boer in 1925, was the first commercial process for the production of pure zirconium metal. This process was later superseded by the Kroll process.

While ZBC has a higher ZrO2 content than ZBS, it has a shorter shelf life. Although ZBC is the preferred material to be shipped around the world, some people are willing to pay the extra costs

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