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     40    

40 Zr Zirconium

Transition metal, mass: 91.224 u, 4 stable isotopes (90, 91, 92, 94), Zr 96 is almost stable, abundance rank (earth/space): 20/34

Click image to magnify. Two pieces of ultrapure zirconium, together 2.5 grams. Original size in cm: 1 each
Zirconium Zirconium pieces
Zirconium is a hard, silvery grey metal. It is quite reactive, but forms a protective oxide layer in air, which makes it corrosion-resistant. Above all, it is used for special alloys. From cubic zirconia, ZrO2, artificial gemstones can be made, which look very similar to diamonds.

Same zirconium pieces Zirconium oxidized
Left: the zirconium pieces just freed from their protective atmosphere.
Right: after being exposed to air for more than a year, the surface is slightly oxidized and therefore darker and less glossy.

Cubic zirconia Zircon
Left: Cubic zirconia gemstone, brillant-cut, 2 cm, 50 carats.
Right: Natural zirkon, ZrSiO4. Original size in cm: 0.7



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