Martin Heinrich Klaproth of Germany
Not necessary for life.
Named for the gemstone in which it was first discovered (which itself is named from the Arabic word meaning “gold color”), zirconium is a hard, lustrous, gray-white metal. It is common in very cool stars and has been found in the Sun and in meteorites. Zirconium seems to be common in Moon rocks. It is resists water, most acids and bases, so much so that it is used as a shield against corrosive compounds in the chemical industry. It will react with air under certain circumstances. Zirconium is used for steel alloys and colored glazes. It is not effected by the bombardment of neutrons, so it is used as an inner lining in nuclear reactors. Zirconium compounds are used for bricks, ceramics and abrasives, flashbulbs, explosive primers, lamp filaments and artificial gemstones. It is super conductive at low temperatures and is used in superconducting magnets. It is also used in deodorants.
Zirconium has no known biological use.
Role in Life Processes
No known benefits to life processes.
Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 0.000001%
Zirconium is chiefly obtained from zirconium dioxide (baddeleyite) and zircon. These relatively heavy minerals are found in placer deposits and wind-worked sands, and are mined in Australia, South Africa, the USA, Russia and Brazil.