Lexicon ZINC – everything about zinc from A - Z


This refers to the detachment of the smallest particles from various construction products due to weathering.

Washoff Rate

The washoff rate denotes the total amount of substances formed by corrosion processes on a metallic material that are washed off from an area of a defined size during a certain period by rainwater. The washoff rate is usually given in g/m2 per year (e.g., H. Hullmann, U. Kraft, "Copper and zinc washoff from metal roofs", WLB 10/2002)


Generally, aqueous solutions with a pH value greater than 7 are referred to as alkaline or "basic". This is due to the predominant occurrence of special molecule groups, hydroxide ions (OH–), which are present in greater numbers than the also present oxonium ions (H3O+). A typical alkaline solution is sodium hydroxide.


Term for aqueous solutions with a pH value over 7, see "alkaline".

Construction Zinc

Construction zinc refers to titanium zinc sheets used for roofing, facade cladding, rainwater drainage, and as folding profiles for flashings and coverings, dormer claddings, fascias, and canopies.

Development Plan

A development plan defines the type and characteristics of buildings in terms of urban development in a construction area. It is usually the responsibility of the local authorities, which create the legal framework for architectural design according to the Building Code and the respective state building regulations.


Bioavailability describes the amount of a substance that is available to an organism for metabolic processes.

CE Marking

The CE marking is not a quality seal in the strict sense, but a sign that the manufacturer is aware of the requirements for their product and that it meets these requirements. The requirements are usually set normatively. The CE mark is accompanied by a declaration of conformity from the product manufacturer and can only be made in relation to harmonized standards.


Is the English term for spool and describes a rolled (wide) strip or wound wire.


The density of a substance is described by the quotient of its mass and its volume (i.e., mass in grams divided by its volume, e.g., one cubic centimeter).


Essential substances are those that are vital for a living organism and cannot be synthesized from other nutrients. Zinc, for example, is an essential trace element for humans and must be consumed daily with food.

Galvanic Cell

A galvanic cell is capable of converting chemical energy into electrical energy. Batteries and accumulators are examples of galvanic cells. The combination of two different electrodes is also referred to as a galvanic cell.


Corrosion is the reaction of a metallic material with its environment, causing a measurable change in the material and potentially impairing the function of a mechanical component or an entire system. In most cases, this reaction is electrochemical in nature, but it can also be chemical or metal-physical in nature (DIN EN ISO 8044 (formerly DIN 50900)).


An alloy is a mixture with metallic character made up of two or more chemical elements, at least one of which is a metal. [chemie.de]


A metal alloy of copper and zinc, which varies in color from yellow/golden to reddish-brown (low zinc content) or from pale to almost white-yellow (zinc content of 5 to 45 percent).

Swale Infiltration

Infiltration of rainwater into above-ground, usually grass-covered earth hollows with permeable soil, so that the water is returned to the groundwater. The topsoil layer often accounts for about 30 cm and has a purifying effect on the infiltrating rainwater. An infiltration swale is a technical installation, therefore the limits for substances in the BBodSchV do not apply.


Rainwater includes not only rain but also meltwater from snow and ice, moisture from fog, and from the air (e.g., droplets forming on cold surfaces through condensation).

Object-Specific Proof

The impact of a material on the environment should be as minimal as possible. Environmental quality objectives have been scientifically developed for some building materials, including zinc, to prevent environmental overload. An object-specific proof can mathematically verify whether the expected impact complies with environmental quality objectives over the long term. For zinc roofs and facades, the calculation program 'RegenwasserCheck-ZINK' www.zn-Rate.com from the ARCHE Environmental Institute has proven successful and is recognized by environmental associations.

Oxide Layer

An oxide layer refers to the layer in which a material has combined with oxygen, usually from the air. In zinc, this layer consists of zinc oxide and forms the so-called zinc patina of zinc carbonate in further reaction with precipitation and carbon dioxide.


Uncoated zinc forms a firmly adhering layer of zinc oxide and basic zinc carbonate on the surface due to weathering. This layer is called patina. The formation of patina is indicated by the color change from the initially silvery-bright color of the titanium zinc to a matte, gray surface. The patina gradually grows into a uniform surface. This very dense and 'self-healing' layer in case of superficial scratches acts as long-term protection against corrosion, ensuring that zinc sheeting lasts very long – theoretically up to 200 years.

Primary Zinc

Zinc primarily derived from zinc ore. However, even primary zinc can contain up to 30% zinc from recycled materials. ('Primary Zinc Production and Circular Economy - Only Apparently a Contradiction', c. van Dyken and S. Grund in Erzmetall 2016, p.155 ff).

Infiltration Trench

An infiltration trench is an underground catchment basin for infiltrating diverted rainwater. Infiltration trenches are often used in urban planning when there is insufficient space for open infiltration basins. They are commonly found under parking lots because they can be driveable depending on the product chosen.

Acid Rain

Precipitation that becomes “acidic” due to air pollution – especially from industrial emissions – thus having a lower pH value than “clean” rainwater (pH value >=5.5). The main cause is usually sulfur dioxide from the combustion of sulfur-containing fossil fuels (coal, oil), as it reacts with water to form sulfuric acid or sulfurous acid. According to the German Federal Environmental Agency, long-term measurements show that acid rain significantly decreased from 1982 to 2022.

Heavy Metal

Whether an element is considered a heavy metal or not only refers to its physical density, which is mainly of interest to material researchers and physicists, but does not indicate its significance for health and the environment. On the contrary, zinc is an essential trace element for the human body, involved in many metabolic processes and maintaining health.

Secondary Zinc

Secondary zinc refers to zinc obtained from recycled materials such as zinc sheet scrap, galvanized steel scrap, or brass scrap. Recycled metal raw materials require relatively low amounts of energy for production, positively contributing to reducing the CO2 footprint of a material.

Soakaway Pit

An underground soakaway pit is a covered excavation in the ground into which rainwater is directed. The water enters deeper layers of the earth through the permeable ground – usually gravel – and in this way is returned to the groundwater.

Trace Element

Trace elements are chemical elements (pure substances) that occur only in small amounts or are needed by living beings in low concentrations (less than 50 mg/kg) for life. Essential trace elements – including zinc – are needed by living beings for health maintenance and must be supplied with food, as they cannot be produced by the organism itself. At this very moment, as you read these lines, the element zinc is involved in important metabolic processes in your body. A good feeling, right? Because a deficiency would manifest itself through symptoms of illness. This means that we must take in zinc as an essential trace element with our food. Good sources of zinc include red meat, fish and seafood, dairy and whole grain products, wheat germ, oil seeds, nuts, and lentils. [https://www.zink.de/zink/zink-und-gesundheit/gesund-ernaehren-mit-zink/]('https://www.zink.de/zink/zink-und-gesundheit/gesund-ernaehren-mit-zink/)


Titanium is a chemical element that belongs to the group of transition metals. It is light, strong, ductile, and has a white-metallic luster. Due to its high corrosion resistance, it is used wherever high corrosion resistance, strength, and low weight are important.

Titanium Zinc

Titanium zinc is a zinc alloy with a small amount of titanium. It is often produced in the form of sheets in different thicknesses (usually 0.7 mm). It usually comes to the market in the form of rolls ("Coils"), sheet material, and prefabricated profiles.


This refers to the diversion of rainwater into permeable layers of soil.

Pre-weathered Zinc

Zinc sheet that receives the coloration of a natural patina through pre-treatment at the factory. Depending on the treatment process, the actual patina forms after installation in the atmosphere.

Weathering Influence

Generally, this refers to the impact of weather or prevailing weather conditions over a period of time on a specific area. In terms of the impact on materials exposed to the weather, it includes the prevailing weather-related influencing factors such as wind and air quality (e.g., salt content, emissions, or dust and sand content), water (rain, ice, and snow), and temperature, which can lead to measurable changes.

Zinc Sheet

Zinc or a zinc alloy – today titanium zinc – that is rolled into thin sheets and often used as construction zinc. [https://www.zink.de/themen/architektur-und-bau/titanzink/](https://www.zink.de/themen/architektur-und-bau/titanzink/)

Zn – Zinc in the Periodic Table

Zinc belongs to the chemical elements. That is, it is a pure substance that cannot be broken down into other substances. A zinc atom has a defined structure, which determines its chemical, physical, and also biological functions. Zinc encounters us in many forms in both the animate and inanimate nature.

Zinc Resources

Zinc is a natural and also common component of the Earth's crust. If the elements are arranged according to their abundance, zinc ranks 24th, making it more common than copper. It is found in bound form in ores. The most common compound is the zinc sulfide ores (sphalerite or wurtzite), which contain up to 65% zinc. Areas with large zinc deposits include North America, South America, Australia, China, India, and Kazakhstan. In Germany, too, there were zinc deposits, for example, in the Sauerland, the Rhineland, and the Harz region. Today, however, no zinc is mined in Germany.

Zinc is a 'caregiver'

Whether zinc can be well absorbed by an organism depends on its bioavailability. Certain substances, for example, can inhibit the absorption of zinc in the body. These include compounds in grains (phytates) or in tea or coffee (tannins). But no worries: People in modern industrial countries are usually sufficiently supplied with zinc through a balanced diet. However, the situation looks different in poorer countries, where malnutrition can occur. Here, especially children in growth can be affected by a zinc deficiency. (www.zincsaveskids.org) The recommended daily amount for zinc supply according to WHO is 10 to 15 mg of zinc per day. Zinc cannot be stored in the body and must therefore be supplied continuously. An excess of zinc is excreted again. („Zinc in Human Health“, edited by Lothar Rink, IOS Press 2011, online at: https://ebooks.iospress.nl/volume/zinc-in-human-health ,(„Zinc: the metal of life“, Kuljeet Kaur et al, in Comprehensive reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Volume 13 (2014), online at: https://ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12067/epdf)

Zinc is healthy

Zinc is involved in many processes in the body. For example, in defense against disease-causing microorganisms, in wound healing, in the vision process, and in growth processes. It is part of the structure of genetic material and a component of many hormones. Without zinc, we cannot concentrate well, lose our performance and become ill. („Zinc in Human Health“, edited by Lothar Rink, IOS Press 2011, online at: https://ebooks.iospress.nl/volume/zinc-in-human-health („Zinc: the metal of life“, Kuljeet Kaur et al, in Comprehensive reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Volume 13 (2014), online at: https://ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12067/epdf)

Zinc is in a constant cycle

Looking more closely, zinc in our environment is in a constant cycle. Zinc from the soil and rocks is leached out through weather conditions, most often by the action of water, and ends up in rivers, lakes, and the sea. Through animals and plants that absorb zinc from the water, and subsequently through the food chain, zinc becomes an important building block in the organism – in plants as well as in animals. In addition to zinc from natural sources, there is also zinc from man-made sources in nature. This includes zinc contributions from zinc processing, emissions from power plants, households, and industrial companies without a direct zinc relation, as well as applications. In a total context, the natural zinc cycle is far more important than the man-made one. Seen locally, however, man's influence on the zinc flow can have a greater impact. (IZA, „Zinc in the Environment“, 2014)

Zinc is also found in plants

Plants also need zinc. If this element is missing, the plant cannot grow properly and remains small. Also, the green plant pigment cannot form, which is evident in a pale to almost white leaf coloration. The reason for zinc deficiency often lies in the nature of the soil, where the plants can only poorly absorb the zinc present in the soil. This can be due to high phosphate levels, high pH values, or a too high lime content. In some areas of the earth, the soil itself has too low a zinc content. To remedy zinc deficiency at plant sites, farmers can use zinc-containing fertilizers. Parallel to this, useful plants are specifically bred so that they are particularly good at absorbing zinc and other important nutrients from the soil. (S. Das, A. Green, „Importance of zinc in crops and human health”, ICRISAT, 2013) https://www.zink.de/themen/chemie-und-pharmaindustrie-3/