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About zinc oxide


The global zinc oxide market is estimate at about 1200kT of which European production accounts for 25%. 

Manufacturing Processes

Zinc Oxide is produced through three different processes:

  • Direct or American process, where oxidised zinc bearers are first reduced by carbon, then metal vapour is oxidised by air combustion to produce zinc oxide
  • Indirect or French process, where various zinc metal sources are melted, vapourised by boiling and oxidised in the vapour state with air to form zinc oxide
  • Wet chemical process: zinc salts are precipitated by the addition of alkalines and filtered from solution. Zinc oxide is then generated by dehydration or calcination.

Raw materials

Zinc oxide producers are typically recyclers: raw materials mainly used are residual oxidic materials coming from the galvanising process (drosses) or other (ashes) or zinc bearing materials from mixed sources.

Main applications

Tyres and technical rubber:

  • Acting as vulcanising agent
  • Improvement of the aging resistance
  • Enhancement of the abrasion resistance
  • Improvement of the adhesion and aging resistance of adhesives

Ceramics & glass:

Important raw material for the production of frits and glazes:

  • ZnO increases the elasticity of the glazes and its chemical persistence.
  • ZnO reduces the fusion point during the melting process.

Improvement of the optical properties and reduction of the thermal volume expansion glass


Important trace element securing the supply of zinc in farm animals and crops

Pharma & Cosmetics

  • UV absorber in sun creams
  • Astringent component in skin care
  • Wound healing component in ointments
  • Component in dental cement
  • Trace element in nutrient supplements


  • Raw material for the production of organic zinc compounds for additives and lubricants
  • Starting compound for synthesis of organic & inorganic compounds (sulphates, phosphates, stearates)


As a semi-conductor, ZnO is an important material for the production of electronic components:

  • Varistors
  • Ferrites
  • Solar cells


  • White pigment for paints
  • corrosion inhibitor



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