Main usage of metal zirconium and zirconium powder


Zirconium, a kind of rare metal, which has amazing corrosion resistance, extremely high melting point, ultra high hardness and strength, can be widely used in aerospace, military industry, nuclear reaction and atomic energy field. The corrosion resistant and high temperature resistant titanium product that is used on the rocket “Shenzhou VI” made by China, of which the corrosion resistance is far behind zirconium. Its melting point is about 1600 degrees Celsius, while the melting point of zirconium is more than 1800 degrees Celsius, besides, the melting point of zirconium dioxide even reaches up to more than 2700 degrees Celsius. Therefore, being used as the aerospace materials, all performances of zirconium will be greatly superior to titanium.

Application of zirconium on nuclear energy and nuclear submarine

Metal zirconium is almost all used as the cladding of uranium fuel element in nuclear reactor. Viewing from the atomic energy and nuclear energy, zirconium has outstanding nuclear performance and is the indispensable material in developing nuclear energy industry. Zirconium is generally used in china’s large nuclear power stations, in which each 1 million kilowatt of generating capacity will consume 20 to 25 tons of metal zirconium every year if electricity is generated by nuclear power. The usage amount of zirconium will reach 20 to 30 tons when zirconium and zirconium alloy are used as the sheath and pressure pipe of nuclear fuel in the nuclear submarine that has 30,000 horsepower.

Application of zirconium on military industry

Viewing from military industry, the hardness and strength of steel will be strikingly increased by just adding millesimal zirconium. The amour steel, cannon steel forging, stainless steel and heat resistant steel that contain zirconium are the important materials in making armored cars, tanks, cannons, armors and other weapons.

Zirconium is a kind of ideal getter

When we get to know lithium and titanium, we know that they like to react with gases, so does zirconium, which can powerfully absorb nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen and other gases. For example, when the temperature exceeds 900 degrees Celsius, it can fiercely absorb nitrogen; under the temperature of 200 degrees Celsius, 100 grams of metal zirconium can absorb 817 liters of hydrogen, which is more than eighty ten thousand times of iron. Due to this specialty of zirconium, it has caused a lot of trouble to the master workers who smelt it. However, it can bring benefits to people in other occasions, for example, in the electric vacuum industry, many people coat zirconium powder on the surface of electric vacuum components, anode of the instruments and other heated parts so as to absorb the residual gas in the vacuum tube, which will be made into high vacuum valve and other electric vacuum gauges, thus improve their quality and prolong their service time.

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Other usages of zirconium

Zirconium can be also used as the “vitamin” in the metallurgical industry, in which it can play its powerful deoxygenation, denitrogenation and desulphurization. Mix zirconium into copper and draw the mixture into copper wire, of which the conductivity will not be reduced and the melting point will be greatly improved, which is very suitable for being made into high-voltage line. Zinc magnesium alloy that contains zirconium is light and high temperature resistant as well as has twice of the strength than normal magnesium alloy, which can be used in the production of jet engine components. In previous passages, we mentioned zirconium metal powder, which has low kindling point and fast burning velocity, can be used as the initiating explosive of detonator that even can blast under water. The mixture of zirconium and oxidizing agent will generate strong light when burning, which can be used as good materials in producing light tracers and flares.

Zirconium is one of important alloying elements of magnesium alloy, which can improve the tensile strength and processability of magnesium alloy. It also can be used as the alterant of aluminum magnesium alloy and can refine grains. Zirconium dioxide and zirconite are the most valuable compounds in the refractory materials. Zirconium dioxide can be used as the main materials in the new ceramics, but it cannot be used as the heating material that is resistant to high temperature and oxidation. Being used as the additives of acid-proof enamel and glass, zirconium dioxide can significantly improve the elasticity, chemical stability and heat resistance of glass. As zirconite has strong light reflection performance and good heat stability, it can be used as the opacifying agent for ceramics and glass. The mixture of powdered iron and zirconium nitrate can be made into flashlight powder as well as can be used in producing flash lamp, corrosion resistant containers and pipelines. In particular, it can be resistant to hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid. Chemical medicine that is made by zirconium can be used as the cross-linking agent of polymers.