Atomic number: 40
Year discovered: 1789
Discovered by: Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743-1817), a German chemist.
- The name zircon probably originated from the Arabic “zargun”, which describes the color of the gemstone now known as zircon.
- Klaproth obtained new oxide from the semiprecious jewel zircon and named the new metal contained in the oxide “zirconium”.
- An important advance did not come until 1925 when massive, ductile metal was made by two Dutch scientists, A. E. van Arkel and J. H. de Boer.
- In the middle 1940’s, W. J. Kroll developed a cheaper process for making the metal.
- Despite its interesting properties, zirconium probably would have remained of minor importance had not its use in nuclear reactors developed shortly before 1950.
- Because of its high resistance to corrosion, it has found increasing use in the fabrication of pumps, valves, heat exchangers, filters, and other chemical handling and processing equipment.
- Zirconium compounds have been used in treating fabrics for rot and weather resistance, floor waxes, leather tanning, in photographic flashbulbs, and in petroleum-cracking catalysts.
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Information about other elements may be seen at this Chemical Elements List.
A special unit about words that include chemo-, chem- may be seen here.