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Zinc, symbol Zn, number 30, is a pretty average shiny silver metal, it's not particularly heavy, corrodes to a dull grey in a matter of weeks, and is to soft to be used structurally. It's melting point is low enough that I can cast it with a blowtorch, and it's fairly cheap, so it's often used for novelty items such as parts of toys or other cast objects.
Zinc is used in most batteries today, where it is slowly transformed into zinc oxide as the battery is used up. You can pretty easily make your own battery if you take lemon juice, or almost anything slightly acidic, and put a strip of zinc and a strip of copper into it, this battery doesn't do too much, but you can pretty easily light up an LED from them. I'll sell you zinc strips if you can't find them, because I have quite a lot of zinc sheet sitting around I can cut up, just email Ben@AtomicEmporium.com.
Also because of it's low price, more recent US pennies have a zinc core, with a thin layer of copper just for looks. You can pretty easily see the zinc if you sand or grind the edge of a penny for awhile
These are my samples!
These are somewhat old-fashioned AA batteries, which unusually enough say right on the front "Carbon Zinc". The carbon and zinc are chemically different, so any acid or base you put between them will slowly oxidize one, and make a voltage. In this case I believe the base is potassium hydroxide, the middle electrode is a carbon rod, and the case is zinc. This concept is further explained here, you can build your own batteries!
Date added(year-month-day):20120229, sample number:97
Tags(Elements in sample):carbon, zinc
These are small bars of zinc, I cast them myself in a wooden mold with the idea that once I had round bars, I could put them in an electric drill and sand them to get zinc powder, which is very valuable in many chemical reactions. This idea proved far more difficult then that, and the castings were bubbly and brittle, but at least they're pretty....
Date added(year-month-day):20110724, sample number:23
Tags(Elements in sample):zinc
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