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Uses for Zinc Powder

By Sophie Bloom, M.S., L.Ac.

Zinc helps provide immunity, fertility and the capacity of senses including sight, taste and smell, notes the International Zinc Association. Zinc can also be recycled indefinitely, without losing any of its structural or functional characteristics. As a result, zinc powder can be found in an array of personal and industrial applications, some of which may seem surprising.

Paint

Zinc-rich paint can prevent steel surfaces from rusting and corroding and has many industrial applications, according to the Umicore Group. The paint can provide a heavy-duty coating for large-scale structures such as offshore oil rigs, sea containers and other marine equipment. Paint containing zinc powder can also be used on bridges.

Cosmetics

Zinc powder can be found in cosmetics products, including talcum and face powders, notes transtutors.com. Two forms of zinc powder may be used: zinc oxide, which can provide UVA protection and mask pores and blemishes; and zinc stearate, which has adhering properties that enable the powder to stick to the skin.

Casting

Since zinc is cheaper than copper, it can be used for creating mixed-metal alloys for foundries, notes the database Key to Metal. Zinc alloys may be used for casting dies, permanent molds, plaster molds and shell molds, notes the website. Since zinc has inherent properties that counter corrosion, it has advantages over cast iron.

Batteries

Zinc powder provides chemical potential energy in alkaline batteries to pump electrical charges between the negative and positive terminals, explains HowEverythingWorks.org. As the battery is used, the zinc oxide powder oxidizes, in essence burning itself up. When there is very little pure zinc left, the battery is dead.

Rocket Fuel

Powdered zinc is used by hobbyists as a fuel for model rockets, notes jacobsrocketry.com, with a mixture of 2.04 parts zinc to one part sulfur. However, due to difficulties compressing these chemical powders to consistent measurable quantities, these chemical fuels tend to perform erratically, the site warns. Rockets may have inadequate power, or they may explode.

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