Zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), sometimes known as zirconia (not to be confused with zircon), is a white crystalline oxide of zirconium. Its most naturally occurring form, with a monoclinic crystalline structure, is the rare mineral baddeleyite. The high temperature cubic crystalline form is rarely found in nature as mineral tazheranite (Zr,Ti,Ca)O2 (and a doubtful mineral arkelite). This form, also called cubic zirconia, is synthesized in various colours for use as a gemstone and a diamond simulant.
Zirconia is an extremely refractory material. It offers chemical and corrosion inertness to temperatures well above the melting point of alumina. The material has low thermal conductivity. It is electrically conductive above 600°C and is used in oxygen sensor cells and as the susceptor (heater) in high temperature induction furnaces. With the attachment of platinum leads, nernst glowers used in spectrometers can be made as a light emitting filament which operates in air.
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