Zirconium is a hard, grey and lustrous metal. When in the finely divided state it can spontaneously ignite in air. Zirconium is used in the nuclear industry for cladding fuel elements due to its low absorption of thermal neutrons. It shows an unusually high similarity to hafnium, and as a result commercial grades of zirconium can contain up to 4.5% hafnium.
Hafnium exhibits high levels of absorption of thermal neutrons. Therefore for nuclear applications a high purity grade of zirconium must be obtained. Due to a high corrosion resistance zirconium is used extensively in the chemical industry. Another application of pure zirconium is as a lining for jet engines.
Advent Research Materials Ltd supplies Zirconium in foil, plate, rod, sheet and wire form in various different quantities.