Q:

How did the element zinc get its name?

A:

Quick Answer

The name for the element zinc comes from the German word "zink." According to the Royal Society of Chemists, this in turn may have come from the Persian word "sing," which means stone. Zinc is one of the most used metallic elements and is an important trace element in humans and other animals.

Know More

Full Answer

One of the most common uses of zinc is in a process called galvanization, in which a material that is easily corroded is given a thin protective layer of corrosion resistant zinc. Galvanization accounts for more than one-third of all zinc used in the world and can be done in one of two ways. The less common way is to simply dip the object into molten zinc, but the layer of zinc most often is applied through electroplating.

Zinc is also commonly mixed with other metals to create useful alloys, such as brass. Brass usually contains between 55 and 95 percent copper, with zinc making up the difference. This alloy was first discovered more than 2,500 years ago and still remains popular for use in musical instruments, decorative hardware and many other purposes.

Although some compounds of zinc have been in use for thousands of years, it wasn't until the 1400s that a person in India isolated pure metallic zinc. However, the official credit for the element's discovery usually goes to Andreas Margrraf, who identified it in 1746.

Learn more about Chemistry

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did the element sodium get its name?

    A:

    The element sodium gets its name from the Medieval Latin word sodanum and the English word soda, which translates to "headache remedy." The chemical symbol of sodium is derived from the Latin word for sodium carbonate, which is "natrium." An English chemist named Sir Humphry Davy was the first person to isolate pure sodium, which was accomplished through the electrolysis of caustic soda.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How did lithium get its name?

    A:

    The word "lithium" is derived from the Greek word for stone, "lithos", because it was first discovered in stone. Lithium is one of several alkali metals discovered and named in the early 1800s. The other two, sodium and potassium were also named after the materials that were being studied when they were discovered.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How did zinc get its name?

    A:

    According to the Random House Dictionary, the word Zinc likely comes from the German word "zinke," which means prong or tine, and may refer to the jagged form it takes when in a furnace. The name was probably first used by the German chemist Paracelsus in the 16th century.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How did sulfur get its name?

    A:

    The name of the element sulfur is derived from the Latin word sulphurium and the Sanskrit word sulvere. Although humans have known of sulfur's existence since ancient times, it was not until around 1777 that the scientific community recognized it as an element. Because sulfur's origins date back to ancient times, it is not certain as to who named it or how it got its name.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore