Atomic weight, 906; sp.gr., 64; meltingpoint, between 1,530 degrees and 2,000 degrees C. Zirconium is a rare element found in nature in the form of silicate 4 in the mineral zircon, and obtained by reduction of the oxide. When metallic zirconium is heated in the air it oxidizes slowly. Zirconium is soluble in hot acids, and one method of preparing it free from iron and alumina is based upon the production of a basic sulphate. The hydroxide Zr, iike the oxide, is insoluble in water, and loses 2ll20 at 550 degrees C. It belongs to the same group of elements as titanium, and, like siicon, it is known both in crystalline and amorphous forms. There are several nitrates, including the normal salt 4 and a sulphate 2, which are soluble in water, a chloride, which is decomposed by water but is soluble in alcohol, and a number of other compounds bearing a resemblance to those of thorium and silicon. Zirconium Acetate 30H is a white, crystalline, soluble salt, used for weighting silk. Zirconium Carbide decomposes water and find? use as an abrasive. Zirconium Oxide is a heavy, white, amorphous powder, obtained by heating the hydroxide Zr4, anu is a valuable refractory material which finds application not onlj in the preparation of incandescent gas mantles, but as an abrasive, in ceramics, and in the compounding of refractory and acidproof utensils ard enamels. During the recent war, zirconium in smail amount was introduced into the steel used by the French in making armourplate, as in association with 3 per cent, of nickel it was found to add to its tenoile strength, A silvery white crystalline alloy of zirconium with aluminium has been prepared of the composition Zr3Al4.
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