and the Environment
is all around us and is an integral part of nature. Most rocks and
many minerals contain zinc in varying degrees. It also exists naturally
in air, water and soil. Zinc is also essential to human health and
all living organisms.
ZINC is a non-poisonous and an environmentally sound product. It
does not contain impurities that could be set free under atmospheric
conditions or produce toxic fumes in case of fire.
chemically aggressive rainwater (acid rain) runs over zinc surfaces,
the zinc can be eroded very slowly over long periods of time. The
run-off water can contain zinc ions. Since zinc is an element essential
for life and most organisms show a very high zinc tolerance, such
water can be used without concern. For instance, rainwater collected
from VM ZINC roofs, can be used without any known problems for watering
takes much less energy to refine then other metals. For instance,
the energy required to produce zinc from ore is 114 that of aluminum,
and 1/2 that of copper and stainless steel.
VM ZINC products come to the end of their useful life they can be
re-smelted. Due to their high metal content and ease of replacement
these scraps have a high value and practically 100% recyclability.
Many new zinc products are created from recycled zinc from buildings,
for instance, zinc oxides used in paint, rubber production, and
is not a Dangerous Heavy Metal
is not the same as lead or cadmium. Zinc is not a poison. In fact,
quite the opposite is true. The truth is that zinc, lead, and cadmium
are all heavy metals. So what makes zinc different?
are heavy metals?
Many people associate heavy metals with toxicity. Actually there
are many types of heavy metals some that are toxic and some that
are not. A metal is classified as a heavy metal when its density
is greater than 5 g/CM2. Hence it is simply a physical property
of the metal that puts it in the category of heavy metals, not its
toxicity. Zinc has a specific gravity of 7.14 g/CM2 . For comparison
iron weighs 7.87 g/CM2, so it is heavier than zinc. The titanium
that is part of the VM ZINC alloy weighs only 4.51 g/CM2 and is
counted as a light metal. Gold is one of the heaviest of the heavy
metals with a weight of 19.32 g/CM2 and is emphatically atoxic (for
instance it is used in orthodontics).
bottom line: a heavy metal is defined through the physical property
(specific gravity) and not through its toxic nature.
Why is this characteristic so often associated with the term toxic?
Probably because many heavy metals are toxic. For this reason it
is important to differentiate between zinc and toxic heavy metals.
Durability of Zinc
you are considering designing and building environmentally
sound structures, then zinc is the perfect material for you.
Zinc is safe for the environment and it has a durability and
life span that are highly desirable. In short, zinc is the
perfect material and the logical choice.
industrialization of zinc began in Europe in the late 18th century
and many buildings still have their original zinc roofs.
the longevity of zinc as a building material is controlled mainly
by the thickness of the material and the environment in which it
is installed. In general, you can count on 90 to 100 years in rural
areas, 40 to 70 years near the sea, and 30 to 40 years in heavy
us do a worst case calculation, under conditions such as those found
in Pittsburgh, PA in the 1950's. In this highly polluted case, the
removal rate of zinc would be approximately 7 microns per year.
The thinnest VM ZINC sold is .7 mm and if 40% of the material has
eroded it should be replaced. This concludes: 40% of .7 = 280 microns
@ 7/year = 40 years.
most cases you may see a 6 micron loss the first year and 1-2 microns
in following years. By comparing the life span of zinc to other
building materials, you easily realize why zinc is a sound decision
for both the environment and the longevity of your building.
In addition to its long life span, zinc is a low maintenance material.
It does not have a coating or varnish that wears out over time and
needs to be reapplied. In fact zinc continues to build a protective
layer (patina) over time and will self repair imperfections or scratches.
CONTACT IS JIM DALLMAN
WE ARE LOCATED AT:
0794 INDUSTRY PLACE
P.O. BOX 70
Rocky Mountain Architectural Metals, Inc.
2002 - 2004
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