finishing.com -- The Home Page of the Finishing Industry
A website for Serious Education, promoting Aloha,
& the most FUN smiley you can have in metal finishing

HomeFAQsBooksHelpWantedAdvertiseForum
topic 7290

Dangers of Heating Zinc for Science Project



A discussion started in 2001 & continuing through 2017

(2001)

Q. I was just wondering that if you get zinc so hot that the temperature reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit if it would give off some kind of gas that could kill you or anything. I an doing my science project on which kind of metal gets hottest the quickest and I did not want it to get so hot and let off some kind of gas and kill or hurt people in the whole school. So please if there is anyway possible that you could give me a response about zinc as soon as possible.

Thank-You Student At Pendleton County High

Brian G.
- Riverton West Virginia US


(2001)

A. Hi Brian. Best of luck with your project, and thanks for being careful.

But 120 degrees F isn't as hot as some places get in the summer. I just read that outside temperatures of over 130 degrees have been recorded. You attic probably reaches 120 in the summer. Are you sure you have that temperature right?

If you were putting a cutting torch on zinc, I'd worry. Or if you were eating off a zinc-plated sheet I'd worry a bit.

7290

I think your chief concern should be that nobody touches the metals and gets burned, and I'd suggest a warning sign to that effect.

Good luck!

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


(2003)

A. Kid,

I have personally been quite sick by breathing the gaseous oxide of the metal in question. I was welding galvanized pipe and failed to note the direction of the wind. I was sick for a day.

I doubt that 130 degrees would cause any problem with it. I think that your investigation is in the direction of "specific heat". You will find listings of how much heat energy is required to increase each type of material, by weight, an equal amount.

Norman B. Czerski
- Eagle River, Alaska USA


September 10, 2010

Q. I am building a fire pit using two half circles basement window wells. They are galvanized steel and my son said that they would give off fumes that are harmful. I agreed with him but feel that a good fire would drive out the zinc. Is this true?

John Carroll
Designer - Marlton, New Jersey


September 11, 2010

A. Hi, John. As long as this fire pit is outside, which I would certainly expect, I don't think there is much of a problem. While the heart of a hot fire is hot enough to melt the zinc, and probably to vaporize it, I think you'd find it hard to build a fire that would vaporize the zinc except in a tiny spot, and then only on the inside wall, not the outside wall. Welding is something else, involving much higher temperatures, and staying very close to watch your work.

Zinc is not a toxic material (cold prevention tablets are actually zinc supplements), and a normal outdoor exposure to the small amount from a camp fires wouldn't worry me personally at all.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


September 12, 2010

Thanks, I'll be building my fire pit and passing on the design and information.

John Carroll [returning]
- Marlton, New Jersey, USA


February 14, 2012

Q. I am wondering if heating Zinc to 450° F. in a household oven will cause issues? The oven is not vented to the outside.
Also it would be good to know at roughly what temperature Zinc does become toxic if anyone has that information.

Gene Collins
- Seattle, Washington, USA


February 14, 2012

A. Hello Gene.

Zinc is not a toxin, it is an essential nutrient. But an overdose can be a nasty problem.

Zinc doesn't become "toxic" at any temperature, but what does happen at the vaporization temperature of zinc (about 1600 ° F) is that the metal turns to a gas, such that it can be easy to inhale that overdose.

An oven in the kitchen is for cooking food, and that's all it should be used for. It's not a question of what facets of which hobbies and experiments and household repairs you can use your kitchen oven for :-)

Apologies if that sounds harsh, but the point is that if things are used for purposes for which they weren't intended, it simply isn't possible to acquire the necessary history, data, and experience for anyone to say what is safe and what isn't. For example, what do you mean by "heating zinc to 450 °F" -- probably something very different from the next guy. 100% pure zinc might be no problem, but leaded zinc might; solid zinc sheet might not be a problem but putting galvanized metal with a hexavalent chrome conversion coating into a heated kitchen oven would be crazy.

Please try to post the exact details of your question rather than casting it in the abstract. Thanks.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



July 3, 2017

Q. I want to put a sheet of 28 gauge zinc plated steel in the bottom of a barrel grill and I wanted to know whether that will be too much heat from the coals to cause toxic gases.

Joshua Lewis
- Birmingham,Alabama


July 2017

A. Hi Joshua. Using the term 'toxic gases' will make it hard for you to understand the nature of the problem. Zinc is not a 'toxic gas'; it is an essential micronutrient. The problem is that welders heat a lot of zinc to the vaporization point, creating a cloud of zinc oxide, and then inhale it into their lungs, getting a gross overdose. By way of parallel, instead of taking one baby aspirin, they are swallowing the whole bottle.

In a world of non-inspected imported foods from every hovel in the world, listeria, salmonella, rodent droppings, and fecal coliform poisoning are legitimate concerns, but I truly doubt that zinc poisoning from lining your barrel grill is. But get a hot fire going with no food on the grill the first time.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"



This public forum has 60,000 threads. If you have a question in mind which seems off topic to this thread, you might prefer to Search the Site

ADD a Q or A to THIS thread START a NEW THREADView This Week's HOT TOPICS

Disclaimer: It's not possible to diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations may be deliberately harmful.

  If you need a product/service, please check these Directories:

JobshopsCapital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & Consumables Consult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental ComplianceTesting Svcs. & Devices


©1995-2017 finishing.com     -    Privacy Policy
How Google uses data when you visit this site.