Zinc chloride is used across several industries in many applications. Foods, textiles, metals, medicine, batteries, paper, glue, alcohol, hygiene products, supplements, oil refinement, and many more all employ zinc chloride in their production.
- Decomposition only occurs at high temperatures
- No listed carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, reproductive hazard
- Polymerization will not occur
- Will not burn, explode, or oxidise
- Reduces traces of salt in irrigation water that cause drainage issues
- Replenished zinc in soil and crops when used as a fertilizer
- 65% solution or crystalline
- Crystalline density: 2.9 g/cm3
- Solution density: SG 1.863 to 1.85 converted zinc metal
- pH: 3.0 to 3.5
- Zinc chloride content (ZnCl2): 1200 g/l
- Iron content: 500 ppm max
- Manganese content: 200 ppm max
- Colour: off white to light brown
- Odour: odourless
- Crystalline melting point: 290° C
- Crystalline boiling point: 732° C
- Solution boiling point: 140° C
- Solubility: 100% in water
- Store between 10° C and 25° C
Shelf life 12 months
Zinc chloride exists in a crystalline state. There are four crystalline forms and multiple hydrates. The anhydrous forms are closely-packed with hexagonal crystals. Anhydrous zinc chloride is through a chemical reaction between zinc and hydrogen chloride. This reaction releases hydrogen gas.
Filtration of a zinc chloride solution through normal filter paper is impossible because zinc chloride dissolves starch, cellulose, and silk. It is also mildly corrosive to metals but can be used to remove oxide coatings to reveal a clean metal surface.
There are slight safety concerns when using zinc chloride that can be addressed with standard safety precautions. Zinc chloride can become airborne in the form of fumes or white particulates. The fumes are corrosive to metals.
Zinc chloride is toxic with chronic exposure and when ingested. Care should be taken to avoid contact with skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Inhalation should be avoided. Symptoms of exposure include burns and ulcers on skin, eye irritation and blurred vision, lung irritation and cough, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath that may require immediate medical intervention.
When in contact with cyanides, zinc chloride can produce HCl gas. HCl gas can cause corrosive damage to human tissues, including the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. HCl gas can lead to pulmonary oedema and death.
When in contact with sulphide salts, zinc chloride can produce H2 gas. H2 is a highly flammable hydrogen gas that can spontaneously ignite in high enough concentrations in the air. It is also an asphyxiant, which means humans can die of suffocation when there is too much H2 in the air.
Large discharges may influence aquatic organisms.
Zinc Chloride Uses in Agriculture and Medicine
The uses of zinc chloride are extensive, to say the least. Currently, its most noteworthy application is in the agriculture industry. Due to zinc deficiency maize and other crops are now being fertilised with zinc chloride products at the encouragement of authorities in several parts of the world. The zinc content of crops is greatly increased through the used of these fertilisers and is passed to consumers when the crops are eaten.
Zinc is vital to the health and function of human immune systems and is recommended for the treatment of eating disorders, celiac and Crohn’s disease, diarrhoea, sprue, ulcerative colitis, and other diseases and conditions. It is required for enzyme activity that facilitates healing, cell division, cell growth, and the release of vitamin A from the liver, which is essential to a number of other physiological functions. Zinc is also essential for the synthesis of proteins and fats.
Zinc chloride is also used in the production of astringents for the treatment of corns and calluses, antiseptics for ulcer treatment, pododermatitis treatments, and the treatment of cancer-related ulcers. Alternative medicine employs zinc chloride to create scabs and dead tissue in an effort to treat certain skin cancers, though other methods are generally preferred by medical professionals.
When zinc chloride is added to irrigation water, it helps reduce the amount of salt in the water. This reduces the negative effects salinity tends to have on the drainage of crop soil, helping to negate the costly consequences drainage issues present to farmers.
Other Zinc Chloride Applications
As previously stated, zinc chloride applications are diverse and numerous. Some zinc chloride uses are listed here.
- Embalming material
- Soldering flux
- Parchment paper
- Activated carbon
- Vulcanized fibre
- Cold-water glues
- Artificial silk
- Galvanized iron
- Copper-plated iron
- Browned steel
- Magnesia cement
- Cement for metals
- Vulcanised rubber
- Benzyl chloride
- Organozinc compounds
- Tinner’s fluid
- Dry-cell batteries
- Smoke bombs
- Resin textile finish
- Textile dyes
- Fabric freshener
It is used to:
- Preserve wood
- Fireproof lumber
- Etch metals and glasses
- Carbonise woollen goods
- Crimp and crepe fabrics
- Treat textiles
- Preserve anatomical specimens
- Separate wool/pant fibres/silk
And is used in:
- Chemical synthesis
- Dissolution of oxide coatings
- Oil refining
- Water treatment
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