Zirconium is a hard metal with a silvery satin finish.
Zirconium is a metal that is especially resistant to corrosion by water and seawater which, combined with its nuclear characteristics, makes it suitable for use as a fuel cladding material.
The chemical properties of zirconium are very similar to those of hafnium. Therefore, normal chemical processes used for zirconium mining will not remove hafnium, which may be present in commercial grades of zirconium at levels as high as 4.5%.
Because of its corrosion resistance zirconium is widely used in the chemical industry where corrosive agents are used. The pure metal is also used as a coating for jet engines.
Zirconium is used to protect the inner walls of furnaces and (chemical) reactors: production of foundry crucibles, bricks and abrasives.