RUSS LAPPA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSS LAPPA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Zirconium, a grey-white transition metal found in the minerals zircon (zirconium silicate) and baddeleyite (zirconium oxide). It is widely used in water-cooled nuclear reactors, because it is corrosion-resistant at high temperature and is a poor absorber of neutrons. About 90% of the zirconium produced is used for this application. Zirconium was identified by Klaproth in 1789 and was first isolated by Berzelius in 1824. It has the chemical symbol Zr.
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