Zinc is a base metal which is primarily used in order to galvanize steel which is a process to protect the metal against unwanted corrosion. On the other hand, alloys of zinc, including brass, are vital to a wide range of applications, from corrosion resistant marine components to musical instruments .
Zinc has 4 main physical properties which are strength, toughness, ductility and conductivity. Zinc is a weak metal with a tensile strength less than half that of mild carbon steel. It is generally not used in load-bearing applications, although inexpensive mechanical parts can be die cast from zinc.
On the other hand, pure zinc has low toughness and is generally brittle, but zinc alloys generally have high impact strength compared to other die casting alloys. Between 212-302 oF zinc becomes ductile and malleable, but at elevated temperatures reverts to a brittle state. Again, zinc alloys greatly improve on this property over the pure metal, allowing more complex fabrication methods to be used. Lastly, zinc’s conductivity is moderate for a metal. However, its strong electrochemical properties serve well in the galvanizing process and alkaline batteries.
On the LME zinc is traded as “Special High Grade” contracts at 99.995% minimum purity in 25-ton ingots or as “ High Grade” for 99,980%+ purity.