Energy & Green Tech

Building a better, cheaper battery for power grids

Batteries do the heavy lifting to store excess solar energy on power grids for use after sundown, but to operate, they also rely on pricey elements like platinum.

Energy & Green Tech

Zinc-air battery with improved performance thanks to solar power

Zinc-air batteries, which produce electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and zinc, are considered to be next-generation candidates to meet the explosive demand for electric vehicles instead ...

Electronics & Semiconductors

Scientists develop biodegradable printed paper batteries

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed paper-thin biodegradable zinc batteries that could one day become an environmentally sustainable option for powering flexible and ...

Electronics & Semiconductors

Impaired-driver sensor could pave the way for safer vehicles

The bipartisan infrastructure bill recently signed into law by President Joe Biden includes a requirement for automakers to install driver monitoring systems that detect intoxicated or impaired drivers. Current systems rely ...

Energy & Green Tech

Researchers create new zinc-air pouch cells

Zinc-air batteries (ZABs) are among the most promising next-generation battery technologies due to their many advantageous characteristics. Most notably, these batteries have unique half-open structures, a significant theoretical ...

Electronics & Semiconductors

A way to make zinc batteries rechargeable

A team of researchers from China, Germany and the U.S. has developed a way to make zinc batteries rechargeable. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes how, by using a non-alkaline electrolyte, ...

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Zinc

Zinc (pronounced /ˈzɪŋk/, from German: Zink and also known as spelter) is a metallic chemical element with the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is a first-row transition metal in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is chemically similar to magnesium because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2. Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and has five stable isotopes. The most exploited zinc ore is sphalerite, or zinc sulfide; the largest exploitable deposits are found in Australia, Canada and the United States. Zinc production includes froth flotation of the ore, roasting and final extraction using electricity.

Brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc, has been used since at least the 10th century BC. Impure zinc metal was not produced in large scale until the 13th century in India, while the metal was unknown to Europe until the end of the 16th century. Alchemists burned zinc in air to form what they called "philosopher's wool" or "white snow." The element was probably named by the alchemist Paracelsus after the German word Zinke. German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf is normally given credit for discovering pure metallic zinc in a 1746 experiment. Work by Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta uncovered the electrochemical properties of zinc by 1800. Corrosion-resistant zinc plating of steel is the major application for zinc. Other applications are in batteries and alloys, such as brass. A variety of zinc compounds are commonly used, such as zinc chloride (in deodorants), zinc pyrithione (anti-dandruff shampoos), zinc sulfide (in luminescent paints), and zinc methyl or zinc diethyl in the organic laboratory.

Zinc is an essential mineral of "exceptional biologic and public health importance". Zinc deficiency affects about 2 billion people in the developing world and is associated with many diseases. In children it causes growth retardation, delayed sexual maturation, infection susceptibility, and diarrhea, contributing to the death of about 800,000 children worldwide per year. Enzymes with a zinc atom in the reactive center are widespread in biochemistry, such as alcohol dehydrogenase in humans. Consumption of excess zinc can cause ataxia, lethargy and copper deficiency.

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