Zinc is a bluish-white, lustrous metal. It is malleable when heated. It is a fair conductor of electricity. Zinc is not ferro-magnetic.


Because it burns in air, zinc's main uses are in alloys such as nickel silver and brass, to galvanize metals such as iron to prevent corrosion, and as an oxide in paints and other materials.


Zinc is not considered to be toxic, but when dust is inhaled, a person can suffer from 'oxide shakes' or 'zinc chill'. When using zinc oxide, ensure good ventilation.

Heating a metal or paint containing zinc can cause zinc oxide fumes or dust. Exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat and a flu-like illness called metal fume fever.


Painted galvanised iron can be stripped with standard chemical stripper.