Zinc Sulfide

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zinc sulfide

[′ziŋk ′səl‚fīd]
(inorganic chemistry)
ZnS A yellowish powder that is insoluble in water, soluble in acids; exists in two crystalline forms (alpha, or wurtzite, and beta, or sphalerite); beta becomes alpha at 1020°C, and sublimes at 1180°C; used as a pigment for paints and linoleum, in opaque glass, rubber, and plastics, for hydrosulfite dyeing process, as x-ray and television screen phosphor, and as a fungicide.

Zinc Sulfide


ZnS, a white powder, with a density of 3.98–4.09 g/cm3. Zinc sulfide does not melt at ordinary pressure, but at a pressure of 15 meganewtons/m2 (150 kilogramsforce/cm2), it melts at 1850°C. In moist air, zinc sulfide is oxidized to zinc sulfate; upon heating in the presence of air, ZnO and SO2are formed. Zinc sulfide is insoluble in water but is soluble in acids, with the formation of the corresponding salts and the liberation of hydrogen sulfide. It is encountered in nature as the minerals sphalerite (zinc blende) and wurtzite, ZnS, which are the major sources for the production of zinc (seeSPHALERITE). Zinc sulfide may be produced by passing hydrogen sulfide through solutions of zinc salts. In the presence of traces of copper, cadmium, or silver, zinc sulfide acquires the capacity to luminesce.

Zinc sulfide is used as a component of luminophores: ZnS·Ag for color kinescopes, (Zn,Cd)S·Ag for X-ray tubes, and ZnS·Cu for luminous display panels. It is also a semiconductor material; in particular, it is used in semiconductor lasers.


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