Does Zinc Conduct Electricity: 9 Important Facts


Zinc is one of the important metals that conducts electricity. Let us explore to see whether it conducts electricity.

Zinc conducts electricity because of the presence of mobile electrons. The composition of this metal consists of sphalerite and smithsonite which is the primary component that conducts electricity, it has high electrical conductivity and is a good donor of electrons.

The metallic bonding of zinc compound facilitates the conduction. Hence from its composition and nature we can infer that zinc conducts electricity.

Is zinc an insulator or a conductor?

Conductors or insulators are the important quality of the metals. Let us know in detail the conducting property of zinc.

Zinc is a conductor of electricity and heat and cannot act as an insulator. The main reason behind its conductivity is the mobility of valence electrons in its structure that takes place at room temperature that depicts zinc to act as a good conductor.

Due to this property zinc is one among the important metals that is considered to be the moderately good conductor of electricity.

How does zinc conduct electricity?

Zinc is one of the important metals used for making alloys that is used in preparing electrical components. Let us concentrate on the process of conduction of electricity of zinc metal in detail.

Zinc conducts electricity due to the metallic bonding present in it and each metal atom in its composition contains 2-3 outer electrons that moves from one atom to other when an external factor acts on it. This activity of jumping of outer electrons in between atoms leads to conductivity in zinc.

Why does zinc conduct electricity?

Zinc is a metal and it is known that metals are conductors of electricity. Let us study the reason why it conducts.

Zinc conducts electricity because by its nature it contains sea of mobile electrons and the movement of these delocalized electrons between energy bands of atoms present in its structure produces electricity.

The movement of these electrons are limited by some factors that makes the zinc to conduct less compared to other metals.

What is the electrical conductivity of zinc?

In general, electrical conductivity of any metal tell about its ability to carry electric current. Let us understand in detail about the electrical conductivity of zinc.

The electrical conductivity of zinc is found to be 16.6 x 106 Siemens per meter. The zinc is found to be brittle at normal room temperature. The value of electrical conductivity of zinc is little lower compared to other metals. Besides this the electrical conductivity of alloys prepared using zinc will also be lower.

Is zinc a good conductor for electricity?

Any metal is considered as a good conductor when it allows the flow of charges through it. Let us know whether zinc is good conductor of electricity or not.

Zinc is good conductor of electricity but when compared to other metals, its conductivity is less. As zinc reacts with other metals very easily to form different compounds, it is used to manufacture different alloys.

Why is zinc a good conductor for electricity?

Zinc is a metal and as any other metals it conducts electricity. Let us know the reason behind the conduction of electricity in zinc.

Zinc is considered to be moderately good conductor of electricity due to the presence of freely moving valence electrons between the energy bands of metal atoms that leads to produce electric current.

Structure and bonding of zinc

The bonding and structure of any element mainly depends on its components. Let us understand in detail about the structure and bonding of zinc

  • Structure Zinc is a hexagonal close packed structure with an atomic no Zn = 30. The atomic radius of zinc is about 0.138 nm
  • Bonding – Zinc mainly forms metallic bonds and ionic bonds. The ions of zinc metal acts as strong reducing agent. It reacts with oxygen, chlorine and carbon to form zinc oxide, zinc chloride, zinc carbonate respectively.
Structure of Zinc
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Properties of zinc

Zinc has many good properties that makes it to stand top in the choice of preferences, Let us study the properties of zinc.

  • Density of zinc is found to be 7.13 g/cm³
  • The boiling point and melting point of zinc is around 906℃ and 420℃
  • Electrical conductivity of zinc metal is about 16.6 x 10⁶ siemens per meter
  • Elasticity of zinc is found to increase when heated around 100℃
  • Zinc is generally is found to be in bluish white color
  • Atomic number of zinc is 30 and its oxidation state is +2
  • Zinc is found to be brittle or in crystalline structure at room temperature
  • Malleability of zinc is found to increase when heated around 100℃ and ductility of zinc is found to increase when heated around 110℃ – 150℃
  • Zinc is good conductor of heat and electricity, it has high heat capacity
  • Zinc is a fairly reactive metal
  • Thermal conductivity of zinc is around 112.2 W/m and its electrical resistivity is found to be around 5.90 x 10-8 Ωm at 20℃
  • Zinc is ductile and malleable in nature and is mainly used in galvanising iron
  • The various zinc oxides are used to prepare various materials used in daily life
  • The alloys of zinc are used to prepare paints
  • Zinc is a hexagonal close packed structure and possesses magnetic property
  • Zinc is used to coat iron due to its capability to resist corrosion
  • If zinc is continuously heated it loses its elasticity and turns into a grey powder

Is zinc a good conductor of heat and why?

All the good conductors of heat have the ability to carry heat fastly. Let us concentrate on zinc regarding it.

Zinc as a metal is a moderately good conductor of heat and has a thermal conductivity in the range 112.2 W/m.K  and thermal conductivity is one of the main factors that decide about the capability of a metal about its conduction. Apart from this, it is one of the useful metals that transfers heat.

The conductivity of zinc depends on the range of its thermal conductivity, it may vary according to its heating temperature.

Why does zinc chloride conduct electricity when molten?

Zinc chloride exists both in solid and molten form. To know about its conductivity in molten form let us focus on the reason behind it.

In general, zinc conducts due to freely moving electrons. The zinc chloride in its solid form does not conduct because ions will have fixed position but it is opposite in case of zinc chloride in its molten state that is favourable to conduct electricity due to presence of movable outer electrons.

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed about whether zinc can conduct electricity or not, apart from this  a few questions related to its nature and properties, its reason for electricity conduction, bonding, why and how does zinc conducts electricity is covered.

Raghavi Acharya

I am Raghavi Acharya, I have completed my post-graduation in physics with a specialization in the field of condensed matter physics. Having a very good understanding in Latex, gnu-plot and octave. I have always considered Physics to be a captivating area of study and I enjoy exploring the various fields of this subject. In my free time, I engage myself in digital art. My articles are aimed towards delivering the concepts of physics in a very simplified manner to the readers. Let’s connect through - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raghavi-c-s-260a801b1 EMAIL ID: raghavics6@gmail.com

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