What Is Zinc Alloy?

By Danny Djeljosevic
Brass is a common zinc alloy.

Multiple metal elements are combined to form alloys to create a substance with greater strength and resistance to corrosion. Zinc is commonly used for this purpose, and zinc alloys have a variety of applications.

Basics

Zinc, a shiny metal known for its bluish-white color, occurs naturally in the environment. It is mined mainly from North America, Northern South America, Australia, and Central-East Asia.

History

The metal has been known and used since at least 1400 to 1000 B.C. Use of zinc as an alloy dates back to the ancient Romans and possibly even before that.

Brass

Brass, the most common zinc alloy, is used in construction and to make cast items such as musical instruments. Brass is made by combining zinc with copper.

Nickel Silver

Zinc is often a component of a nickel-copper alloy known as nickel silver, which is used to make silverware. The name “nickel silver” is a misnomer, as the alloy contains no silver.

About the Author

Danny Djeljosevic is a freelance writer and blogger living in San Diego, Calif. He pursues a variety of interests including writing (blogs, prose, screenplays and comic books), criticism and filmmaking. Djeljosevic has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida.