Zirconium is a hard, ductile and silvery shining metal. Like titanium, it is quickly passivated by a thin oxide layer and is therefore resistant against corrosion. In powdered form, zirconium is easily inflammable and burns with a magnesium-like flame. The most important zirconium compound is zirconium oxide.
Zirconium is applied in fuel elements of nuclear power plants. It increases the corrosion resistance of steel and is a component of superalloys for the construction of turbines. Zirconium is especially suitable as a getter material in lamps and vacuum facilities. In the pyrotechnic industry, it is indispensable in the manufacture of airbag ignitors. Zirconium oxide is used in the manufacture of fireproof ceramics, dental alloys as well as for colors and varnishes.