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Zinc and Selenium – Comparison – Properties

This article contains comparison of key thermal and atomic properties of zinc and selenium, two comparable chemical elements from the periodic table. It also contains basic descriptions and applications of both elements. Zinc vs Selenium.

zinc and selenium - comparison

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Zinc and Selenium – About Elements


In some respects zinc is chemically similar to magnesium: both elements exhibit only one normal oxidation state (+2), and the Zn2+ and Mg2+ ions are of similar size.


Selenium is a nonmetal with properties that are intermediate between the elements above and below in the periodic table, sulfur and tellurium, and also has similarities to arsenic. It rarely occurs in its elemental state or as pure ore compounds in the Earth’s crust.

Zinc in Periodic Table

Selenium in Periodic Table

Source: www.luciteria.com

Zinc and Selenium – Applications


Corrosion-resistant zinc plating of iron (hot-dip galvanizing) is the major application for zinc. Coating of steel constitutes the largest single use of zinc, but it is used in large tonnages in zinc alloy castings, as zinc dust and oxide, and in wrought zinc products. Galvanized steel is just plain carbon steel that has been coated with a thin zinc layer. The zinc protects iron by corroding first, but zinc corrodes at much lower rates than do steel. Other applications are in electrical batteries, small non-structural castings, and alloys such as brass. A variety of zinc compounds are commonly used, such as zinc carbonate and zinc gluconate (as dietary supplements), zinc chloride (in deodorants), zinc pyrithione (anti-dandruff shampoos), zinc sulfide (in luminescent paints), and dimethylzinc or diethylzinc in the organic laboratory. A key part of the modern materials world in which zinc finds itself is recycling. Zinc, in common with all metals (and unlike synthetic materials) can be recycled indefinitely without degradation.


The chief commercial uses for selenium today are glassmaking and pigments. Selenium finds applications in the various industries, for example, solar cells and photoconductor applications, manganese electrolysis, DC power surge protection or X-ray crystallography.

Zinc and Selenium – Comparison in Table

Element Zinc Selenium
Density 7.14 g/cm3 4.819 g/cm3
Ultimate Tensile Strength 90 MPa 300 MPa
Yield Strength 75 MPa 150 MPa
Young’s Modulus of Elasticity 108 GPa 10 GPa
Mohs Scale 2.5 2
Brinell Hardness 330 MPa 740 MPa
Vickers Hardness N/A N/A
Melting Point 419.53 °C 221 °C
Boiling Point 907 °C 685 °C
Thermal Conductivity 116 W/mK 2.04 W/mK
Thermal Expansion Coefficient 30.2 µm/mK 37 µm/mK
Specific Heat 0.39 J/g K 0.23 J/g K
Heat of Fusion 7.322 kJ/mol 6.694 kJ/mol
Heat of Vaporization 115.3 kJ/mol 37.7 kJ/mol