Zirconium: reactions of elements

Reaction of zirconium with air

Zirconium metal is coated with an oxide layer that usually renders it inactive. However zirconium does burn in air if provoked to form thedioxide zirconium(IV) oxide, ZrO2.

Zr(s) + O2(g) → ZrO2(s)

Reaction of zirconium with water

Zirconium does not react with water under normal conditions.

Reaction of zirconium with the halogens

Zirconium does react with the halogens upon warming to form zirconium(IV) halides. So, zirconium reacts with fluorine, F2, chlorine, Cl2, bromine, I2, and iodine, I2, to form respectively zirconium(IV) bromide, ZrF4, zirconium(IV) chloride, ZrCl4, zirconium(IV) bromide, ZrBr4, and zirconium(IV) iodide, ZrI4.

Zr(s) + 2F2(g) → ZrF4(s) [white]

Zr(s) + 2Cl2(g) → ZrCl4(l) [white]

Zr(s) + 2Br2(g) → ZrBr4(s) [white]

Zr(s) + 2I2(g) → ZrI4(s) [white]

Reaction of zirconium with acids

Zirconium metal is coated with an oxide layer that usually renders it inactive. Most cold mineral acids have little effect. Zirconium does dissolve in hydrofluoric acid, HF, presumably to form fluoro complexes.

Reaction of zirconium with bases

Zirconium does not appear to react wih alkalis under normal conditions, even when hot.

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