Zirconium is a lustrous, grey-white, strong transition metal that resembles hafnium and, to a lesser extent, titanium. Zirconium is mainly used as a refractory and opacifier, although small amounts are used as an alloying agent for its strong resistance to corrosion. Zirconium is widely used as a cladding for nuclear reactor fuels. The desired properties of these alloys are a low neutron-capture cross-section and resistance to corrosion under normal service conditions.
|Atomic mass [amu]||91.224|
|Atomic mass [pm]||175|
|Density at STP [g/cm3]||6.511|
|Number of protons||40|
|Number of neutrons (typical isotopes)||90; 91; 92; 94|
|Number of electrons||40|
|Electron configuration||[Kr] 4d2 5s2|
|Electron affinity [kJ/mol]||41.1|
|Electronegativity [Pauling scale]||1.33|
|First ionization energy [eV]||6.6339|
Atomic Number – Protons, Electrons and Neutrons in Zirconium
Zirconium is a chemical element with atomic number 40 which means there are 40 protons in its nucleus. Total number of protons in the nucleus is called the atomic number of the atom and is given the symbol Z. The total electrical charge of the nucleus is therefore +Ze, where e (elementary charge) equals to 1,602 x 10-19 coulombs.
The total number of neutrons in the nucleus of an atom is called the neutron number of the atom and is given the symbol N. Neutron number plus atomic number equals atomic mass number: N+Z=A. The difference between the neutron number and the atomic number is known as the neutron excess: D = N – Z = A – 2Z.
For stable elements, there is usually a variety of stable isotopes. Isotopes are nuclides that have the same atomic number and are therefore the same element, but differ in the number of neutrons. Mass numbers of typical isotopes of Zirconium are 90; 91; 92; 94.
Atomic Mass of Zirconium
Atomic mass of Zirconium is 91.224 u.
The atomic mass is the mass of an atom. The atomic mass or relative isotopic mass refers to the mass of a single particle, and therefore is tied to a certain specific isotope of an element. The atomic mass is carried by the atomic nucleus, which occupies only about 10-12 of the total volume of the atom or less, but it contains all the positive charge and at least 99.95% of the total mass of the atom. Note that, each element may contain more isotopes, therefore this resulting atomic mass is calculated from naturally-occuring isotopes and their abundance.
Atomic Radius of Zirconium
The atomic radius of Zirconium atom is 175pm (covalent radius).
It must be noted, atoms lack a well-defined outer boundary. The atomic radius of a chemical element is a measure of the distance out to which the electron cloud extends from the nucleus. However, this assumes the atom to exhibit a spherical shape, which is only obeyed for atoms in vacuum or free space. Therefore, there are various non-equivalent definitions of atomic radius.
Electrons and Electron Configuration
The number of electrons in an electrically-neutral atom is the same as the number of protons in the nucleus. Therefore, the number of electrons in neutral atom of Zirconium is 40. Each electron is influenced by the electric fields produced by the positive nuclear charge and the other (Z – 1) negative electrons in the atom.
Since the number of electrons and their arrangement are responsible for the chemical behavior of atoms, the atomic number identifies the various chemical elements. The configuration of these electrons follows from the principles of quantum mechanics. The number of electrons in each element’s electron shells, particularly the outermost valence shell, is the primary factor in determining its chemical bonding behavior. In the periodic table, the elements are listed in order of increasing atomic number Z.
Electron configuration of Zirconium is [Kr] 4d2 5s2.
Possible oxidation states are +4.
Density of Zirconium
Density of Zirconium is 6.511g/cm3.
Density is defined as the mass per unit volume. It is an intensive property, which is mathematically defined as mass divided by volume:
ρ = m/V
Electron Affinity – Zirconium
Electron affinity of Zirconium is 41.1 kJ/mol.
In chemistry and atomic physics, the electron affinity of an atom or molecule is defined as:
the change in energy (in kJ/mole) of a neutral atom or molecule (in the gaseous phase) when an electron is added to the atom to form a negative ion.
X + e– → X– + energy Affinity = – ∆H
In other words, it can be expressed as the neutral atom’s likelihood of gaining an electron. Note that, ionization energies measure the tendency of a neutral atom to resist the loss of electrons. Electron affinities are more difficult to measure than ionization energies.
Electronegativity of Zirconium
Electronegativity of Zirconium is 1.33.
Electronegativity, symbol χ, is a chemical property that describes the tendency of an atom to attract electrons towards this atom. For this purposes, a dimensionless quantity the Pauling scale, symbol χ, is the most commonly used.
The electronegativity of Zirconium is: χ = 1.33
First Ionization Energy of Zirconium
First Ionization Energy of Zirconium is 6.6339 eV.
Ionization energy, also called ionization potential, is the energy necessary to remove an electron from the neutral atom.
X + energy → X+ + e−
where X is any atom or molecule capable of being ionized, X+ is that atom or molecule with an electron removed (positive ion), and e− is the removed electron.
A Zirconium atom, for example, requires the following ionization energy to remove the outermost electron.
Zr + IE → Zr+ + e− IE = 6.6339 eV
Properties of other elements