Zirconium

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Zirconium (play /zərˈkniəm/ zər-KOH-ni-əm) is a chemical element with the symbol Zr and atomic number 40. Its atomic mass is 91.224. It is a lustrous, grey-white, strong transition metal that resembles titanium. Zirconium is used as an alloying agent for its strong resistance to corrosion. It is never found as a native metal; it is obtained mainly from the mineral zircon, which can be purified with chlorine. Zirconium was first isolated in an impure form in 1824 by Jöns Jakob Berzelius.

Zirconium has no known biological role. Zirconium forms both inorganic and organometallic compounds such as zirconium dioxide and zirconocene dichloride, respectively. There are five naturally occurring isotopes, three of which are stable. Short-term exposure to zirconium powder causes minor irritation, and inhalation of zirconium compounds can cause skin and lung granulomas.

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