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zirconium zir·co·ni·um (zûr-kō'nē-əm)
A strong ductile metallic element obtained primarily from zircon. Atomic number 40; atomic weight 91.22; melting point 1,855°C; boiling point 4,409°C; specific gravity 6.51 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4.
A shiny, grayish-white metallic element that occurs primarily in zircon. It is used to build nuclear reactors because of its ability to withstand bombardment by neutrons even at high temperatures. Zirconium is also highly resistant to corrosion, making it a useful component of pumps, valves, and alloys. Atomic number 40; atomic weight 91.22; melting point 1,852°C; boiling point 4,377°C; specific gravity 6.56 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4. See Periodic Table.