The natural impurities, contaminants, and alloying additions present in commercial zinc materials have extremely limited solid solubility. They readily produce alterations in cast or wrought microstructures and changes in one or more properties. High-purity zinc, UNS Z13002, for example, is 99.99% Zn with maximum limits of 0.003% each on lead, iron, and cadmium and is almost free of mircosegregation (Fig. 1,2). Nominal compositions of the alloys depicted in this article are noted in the captions.
The elements commonly found in zinc are lead, cadmium, iron, copper, aluminum, titanium, and tin. Lead, cadmium, tin, and iron are natural impurities in zinc and are also
added to zinc to develop desired properties. Zinc casting alloys are primarily zinc-aluminum with small additions of other elements, such as copper and magnesium.
Wrought zinc alloys for rolled products generally contain lead, iron, cadmium, copper, or titanium alone or in combination and usually in concentrations under 1%. The
effects on microstructure produced by these elements are described as follows.
Zinc has a familiar role as a protective coating for steel in galvanizing processes. Pure zinc and zinc-aluminum alloys are used in continuous hot dip processes. The
galvanneal process uses zinc-iron alloys (Ref 1). Batch process hot dip galvanizing uses high-grade zinc (UNS Z15001, with impurities less than 0.10%; UNS Z13001, with
impurities less than 0.010%; and prime western zinc, UNS Z19001) (Ref 2). The interaction between base materials and coatings results in interesting profiles of
microstructures (Ref 1,3,4,5).
Fig. 5 Micrograph of edge of fracture surface in Fig. 4 Subsurface intergranular corrosion (top) causes swelling and decreases mechanical
properties. Deliberate addition of 0.018% Pb to the alloy approximates the contamination that might occur from the use of remelted
scrap. As-polished. 100\u00d7
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