Zinc is mainly used as a protective coating for iron and steel (galvanising). It is further used for the production of zinc alloys (e.g. brass), rolled zinc, zinc dust (a pigment and a reducing agent), and zinc compounds (e.g. zinc oxide).
Zinc oxide is the industrially most important zinc compound. It is used in rubber (vulcanising, pigment), photocopy paper, chemicals and paints. Other uses are in floor coverings, in glasses, enamels, fabrics, plastics, lubricants, in rayon manufacture, and in pharmaceuticals (powders and ointments for external application on burns, skin infections and for skin protection).
Zinc acetate is used in wood preserving, as a mordant in dyeing, as a feed additive, as a food additive, as a component of adhesives, as a glaze for painting on porcelain, and as a reagent in testing for albumin, tannin, phosphate and blood. It is a pharmaceutical necessity for zinc eugenol dental cement for temporary fillings.
Zinc carbonate is used as a fire-proofing filler for rubber and plastic compositions exposed to flame temperature, as a feed additive, as a pigment, in cosmetics and lotions, and in the manufacturing of zinc salts, porcelains, pottery, and rubber.
Zinc chloride is used in fluxes (soldering and welding), for fire proofing, as a wood preservative, and in medicine (cauterising agent). It is used alone or with phenol and other antiseptics for preserving railway ties, and as a herbicide and foliar treatment on sidewalks, patios, and fence rows. It is used in the manufacturing of parchment paper, artificial silk, activated carbon, cold water glues, magnesia cements, cement for metals and for facing stone, dental cements, and golf balls. It is used as a mordant in printing and dyeing textiles, as electrolyte in dry cell batteries, as a corrosion inhibitor in water treatment, as an agent in the vulcanisation of rubber, and as a chemical intermediate for pesticides and micronutrients in agriculture. It is used in mercerising cotton, sizing and weighting fabrics, carbonising woollen goods, producing crepe and crimping fabrics, and preserving anatomical specimens. Zinc chloride is a primary ingredient in smoke bombs, as used by the military for screening purposes, crowd dispersal, and fire-fighting exercises.
Zinc chromate is primarily used in paints for priming metals to resist corrosion. It is also used in varnishes and automotive paint pigments.
Zinc cyanide is used in metal plating, in producing insecticides, electroplating, removing ammonia from producer gas, and gold extraction. It is also used as a chemical reagent, and in medicine and chemical analysis.
Zinc fluoride is used in the fluorination of organic compounds, in the manufacturing of phosphors for fluorescent lights, in preserving wood, in electroplating baths, in galvanising steel, and making ceramics. It is also used as a termite repellent, in medication, and in glazes and enamels for porcelain.
Zinc phosphide is used in rat and field mice poison, as a stomach poison for mosquito larvae and agricultural pests, and for control of crickets.
Zinc potassium chromate is used as a rust inhibitor in metal paints and as an artist's colour.
Zinc sulfate is used as a reagent in analytical chemistry and for paper bleaching, as a component of spinning bath in the manufacture of rayon, and as a chemical intermediary for the manufacture of carbamate fungicides, zinc metal, and other zinc compounds. It is used in skin fresheners, glue, textile dyeing and printing, and preservatives for wood and hides. It is also used as a fireproofing agent, a fertiliser ingredient, a feed supplement, a herbicide, a miticide, as a soil treatment on lawns, and in sewage against animal pathogenic bacteria. Zinc sulfate can be used as a supplement for humans, animals and plants with zinc deficiency.
Zinc sulfide is used as a pigment for paints, oil cloths, linoleum, leather, and dental rubber, in white and opaque glass, plastics, dyeing, and in fungicides. It is used as a semiconductor, a photoconductor for solar cells, a pigment in paper, in infra-red thin film and transmitting devices, in detinning, and in optical filter coating. It is used as a phosphor in TV and X-ray screens, and in luminous dials of watches.
A range of organic zinc compounds exists (e.g. zinc soaps, Ziram, and Zineb) which are used as fungicides, antiseptics, water-repellents, lubricants, and for water-proofing textiles, papers, and concrete.