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A soft white metallic element. Zirconium occurs naturally in the minerals Zircon, malacon, baddeleyite, zirkelite, eudialyte, and some rare earth minerals. Its abundance in the earth's crust in 0.023%. Zirconium was discovered by Martin Klaproth in 1789 and first isolated as a metal by Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1824. Because zirconium has good strength and is resistant to heat, corrosion, and nuclear radiation damage, it is widely used in nuclear reactors. It is also used in lamp filaments and flash bulbs. In the ceramic industry, Zirconium silicate and Zirconium oxide are used as opacifiers and glaze frits.




Synonyms and Related Terms

Zr; zirconio (It.); zircônio (Port.); circonio (Esp.); Zirkonium (Deut., Ned., Sven.); cyrkon (Pol.)


  • Handling may cause irritation.
  • Fisher Scientific: MSDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Bluish black powder or soft white metallic flakes.
  • Reacts with hydrofluoric acid, aqua regia, hot phosphoric acid and fused alkalis.
  • Not attacked by cold sulfuric acid, nitric acid or hydrochloric acid.
Composition Zr
CAS 7440-67-7
Mohs Hardness 5.0
Melting Point 1853 C
Density 6.44 g/ml
Molecular Weight atomic wt = 91.224
Refractive Index 2.2
Boiling Point 4375 C

Resources and Citations

  • Cricket Harbeck, Adhesives Commonly used in Objects Conservation, unpublished, 1996 Comment: 'Ceramic Pigments' Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 30(7), 1938.
  • C. J. Harbeck, 'Ceramic Pigments' Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 30(7), 1938.
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 10306