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The molecular formula of Zinc Sulfide is ZnS. It can be obtained by burning a combination of zinc and sulfur. It has a polar covalent bond between the zinc metal and sulfur atoms. It is insoluble in water and decomposes in the presence of acids and strong oxidizing agents. It is also hazardous to the environment and can penetrate into the groundwater and contaminate it. It is toxic to aquatic life and causes irritation of the skin and respiratory tract on exposure.
This compound is a white to gray-white powder that has a faint odor. It is soluble in mineral acids, but is insoluble in alkalis. It is air and moisture sensitive, and slowly oxidizes to sulfate on exposure to the atmosphere. It has two crystalline forms, wurtzite and sphalerite. The wurtzite form has a hexagonal crystal structure and a refractive index of 2.356; it melts at 1,700°C. The sphalerite form has a cubic crystalline structure and a refractive index of 2.02; it changes to the wurtzite form at lower temperatures.
When suitably activated, zinc sulfide exhibits luminescence and fluorescence. It is utilized in luminous paints and as the phosphor for cathode-ray tubes. It is also used as a pigment and is combined with barium sulfate to make the pigment lithopone, which is used in low-gloss interior house paints. It is also incorporated into wide-bandgap semiconductors and is an effective photocatalyst. It is also used as a filler in paper, rubber and plastic applications.