Zinc is a transitional chemical element that belongs to the group of metals and is located in group 12 of the periodic table.
It is represented by the symbol Zn and its atomic number is 30. In biology and in the industrial sector, it is extremely important, mainly because it is used in metal alloys. It is a very reactive metal.
It is a metal that exhibits a high level of reactivity with four metastable states and radioactive isotopes with a lifespan of less than 14 hours. Its isolation took place at the hands of the mining engineer Anton Von Swab and the German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf in 1742 and 1746. However, the treatise written by Marggraf was presented so specifically that it is recognized to this day as the discoverer of zinc.
When ignited, zinc is a silvery metal, generates a blue-green flame, and gives off oxide smoke. It is moderately hard allowing it to be easily stretched and rolled, it is also ductile and malleable. It oxidizes easily in the presence of air and is hardly combustible.
As a conductor of electricity and heat, it is extraordinary. Its boiling point is 907 degrees Celsius and its melting point is 419.5 degrees Celsius.
- In medicine, it is used as a dietary supplement and as an input in the pharmaceutical sector.
- It is used in the construction field to be placed on the roof.
- To produce missiles, space capsules and also batteries.
- In the form of alloys, zinc is used to process other metals.
- In metallurgy it is used to remove silver from lead and also as an additive for precious metals.
- Powdered, it is used to make enamels and paints.
- Combined with other metals, it is used to produce brass. With it, among other things, watch parts and various containers are made.
Obtaining for the uses of zinc
In the earth’s crust this element is number 23 among the most abundant. It is normally found in minerals such as calamine, franklinite and sphalerite.
This metal is found naturally in water, rocks, air and soil. It is essential for health when used in the right amount to ensure the well-being of not only humans but also animals and crops. The biggest zinc exporting countries are Peru, Australia and China. They are also joined by New Zealand and the United States, but to a lesser extent.
Biological importance of zinc
The use of zinc is common, and it is essential for various biochemical reactions in the human body, especially for bone and muscle tissue to form.
Zinc deficiency is associated with hair loss in men, as well as weak nails, incompetent sex and fatigue. Zinc is an essential element in the internal communication of cells, it plays a very important role in synaptic transmission, that is to say between neurons, as well as in different enzymatic processes.
Lack of zinc can have significant consequences on the functioning of the nervous system, causing memory loss, decreased concentration and emotional disturbances,
Health effects of zinc
In humans, taking a large amount of zinc can decrease smell, taste, sensitivity, loss of appetite. It can cause the appearance of rashes and small sores. It can also cause birth defects.
It is also capable of causing skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, stomach ulcers and even anemia as it reduces appetite. A high level of zinc in the body also causes protein metabolic disorders, can cause arteriosclerosis and damage to the pancreas.
Foods containing zinc
- Among the different foods that contain this metal and that the body needs are the following:
- Meats: white and red, such as poultry, pork, beef and lamb. Offal are also included in this group.
- Seafood, fish, oysters, prawns, shellfish, mussels and prawns.
- In wheat, in small quantities, in seeds, legumes and nuts.
- in egg yolk
Although zinc is not a toxic element, it does contain compounds that are, such as zinc sulfide and oxide. Also, it is possible that the particles of this metal interfere with electromagnetic fields and Electron devices by releasing certain particles.