Rubber is the most important application of zinc oxide. It has been used in this capacity for over a century. Zinc oxide is used as an additive in a wide range of materials and products. It is used in rubber manufacturing, mainly in the vulcanization of rubber. Vulcanization of rubber is a chemical process that helps improve the strength and elasticity of rubber. Vulcanized or cured rubber is mostly used in manufacturing tires and shoe soles.
Zinc oxide along with stearic acid activates sulphur crosslinking of rubber. In addition it provides pigmentary properties which enhance the ability to absorb frictional heat an important property in tire performance.French process zinc oxide, made from metallic zinc, is preferred for rubber uses. Automobiles are a significant market for rubber, in addition to tires there are belts, hoses, oil seals, trim and mountings.Support the needs of protecting rubber from harmful UV rays.
Phosphate Coatings & Pigments- Zinc phosphate coatings, formed by reaction of zinc oxide and phosphoric acid, are an essential component of anti-corrosive paint systems. Zinc phosphate pre-paint coatings are applied to bare metal or galvanized surfaces, prior to paint application.
Zinc oxide is an ingredient of fire retardant compounds. Zinc borate, formed by the reaction of zinc oxide and boric acid, is used extensively in plastics. This compound is also used in the formation and cure of epoxide resin. It can impart fire-resistant properties to nylon fibers and moldings.
Historically paint was the major outlet for zinc oxide. It was superceded by the development of titanium dioxide pigment which has a higher opacity. Zinc oxide is still used in some niche applications. Zinc oxide is also used in ship’s antifouling paint compositions. . Paints containing zinc oxide have also been used as anticorrosive coatings for metals, especially for galvanized iron.
Ceramic and Glass Compositions:
Zinc oxide is a standard ingredient of ceramic glazes, for example in tiles. The zinc oxide is part of the frit formulation from which the glaze is derived. Zinc oxide has two important properties; it reduces the melt temperature of the glaze, thereby reducing the energy and equipment requirements. It also allows other pigments to develop stronger intrinsic colors. Zinc oxide is also present in heat resistant glass and cookware as well as speciality glass applications such as photochromic lenses.
Zinc oxide and carbonate compositions are made into absorbent pellets which are used to desulfurize liquid and gas streams. Zinc oxide is able to absorb SOx and H2S.
Zinc oxide is a constituent of cigarette filters. A cigarette filter is used to remove certain harmful compounds, such as hydrogen cyanide and hydrogen sulfide gases from tobacco smoke, without altering its flavor.
Lubricant & Greases:
Finds usage in high temperature or high-pressure applications like in preparation of greases.Also finds suitability in meeting the production needs of specialized lubricants, grease formulations as well as zinc dithiophosphates.
Zinc oxide is mildly antiseptic. It is sufficiently active to protect skin from infections without inducing an adverse reaction. Consequently it is used in powders, creams and ointments, particularly for babies. It is the most commonly used product for treating and preventing diaper rash. It basically forms a protective barrier between the skin and the diaper, and thus help prevent any rash.This application of zinc oxide is one of the more well known uses of zinc and its value in this respect has been known for millennia. This compound is mixed with eugenol to form zinc oxide eugenol, which is used in dentistry for restorative and prosthodontic applications.
Zinc oxide has found several uses in the cosmetic industry. It can absorb the ultraviolet radiation of the sun, and thereby protect the skin from sunburn and other damaging effects of UV radiation. It has been approved by the FDA to be used in sunscreen lotions and creams. It is one of the most important ingredients of mineral makeup. As zinc oxide is not absorbed by the skin, it does not cause any kind of skin irritation. It is also non-comedogenic and nonallergic. It is also used in deodorants and soaps. It helps remove body odor and prevents the growth of bacteria. It can soothe the skin and protect it from irritants as well.
Zinc Oxide is also used for concrete manufacturing. It helps make concrete more water resistant, besides improving the processing time required.
It can prevent the growth of fungi, due to which it is used in many applications. The antistatic, fungistatic, and emulsion stability properties of vinyl polymers can be attributed to zinc oxide. It is also added to fungicides in order to make them more effective in preventing the growth of fungus.
This compound is also a source of the mineral nutrient zinc, which is required for carrying out a wide range of vital biochemical reactions in the body. So, it is added to dietary or vitamin supplements. As a food additive, zinc oxide can be found in vitamin and mineral-fortified breakfast cereals. Due to its fungi-static properties, this compound is used in the packaging of meat, fish, and vegetable products as well.
It is highly valued in the plastic industry, as it imparts heat-resistant properties to acrylic composites and increases their mechanical strength. Zinc borate, which is widely found in plastics, is formed when zinc oxide reacts with boric acid.