zirconium[zər kō′nē əm]
a hard, ductile, gray or black, metallic chemical element found combined in zircon, etc., and used in alloys, ceramics, the cladding for nuclear fuel in reactors, etc.: symbol, Zr; at. no., 40
see the periodic table of elements in the Reference Supplement
Origin of zirconiumModern Latin ; from zirconia + -ium: name proposed (1808) by Sir Humphry Davy for element later isolated (1824) by Baron Jöns Jakob Berzelius
A lustrous, grayish-white, strong, ductile metallic element obtained primarily from zircon and used in nuclear reactors because of its high resistance to corrosion, used in ceramic and refractory compounds, and alloyed with niobium, zinc, and other metals. Atomic number 40; atomic weight 91.22; melting point 1,855°C; boiling point 4,409°C; specific gravity 6.52 (at 20°C); valence 2, 3, 4. See Periodic Table.
- a metallic chemical element (symbol Zr) with an atomic number of 40.
From a New Latin coinage, from zircon.