My Cart


Is Zirconia a Metal?

Written by Michael Foley


Posted on March 27 2019

Watch this brief but informative interview between Michael Foley and Eric Bright - "Is Zirconia a metal?"

Michael Foley is the President of Emerginnova and US distributor of ZERAMEX®, Metal-Free Ceramic Implants.
Eric Bright has his Engineering degree in BioCeramics and is now the Vice President Atlantis Global Development - DENTSPLY.

Link to the video: CLICK HERE | Know more about Eric Bright: CLICK HERE | Know more about Michael Foley: CLICK HERE


Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Understanding Zirconium: The Chemical Element

Zirconium (Zr) is a chemical element that can be found all around us.

It is typically found in rock and sand deposits, from which it is mined and refined. It is a lustrous, gray-white, strong transition metal that closely resembles hafnium and, to a lesser extent, titanium. It is malleable and ductile and easily forms stable compounds. It is also highly resistant to corrosion. Because of its high tolerance to corrosion and its strength, zirconium is present in several compounds in various medical uses.

Zirconium in the periodic table with symbol Zr and atomic number 40

Raw gemstone zircon, the major source of zirconium

Zirconium in its true form


Zirconium Dioxide “ZrO2” (a compound commonly known as Zirconia) is different from Zirconium “Zr” (the element)

Zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), which is also referred to as zirconium oxide or zirconia, is an inorganic metal oxide that is mainly used in ceramic materials. It is a white crystalline oxide of zirconium, a powder like substance that is used as a ceramic material. Zirconium is most commonly converted to Zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) when Oxygen and Zirconium is combined at high temperatures.

Zirconium Dioxide (Powder)  

Zirconium Dioxide (Rod)  

The ZERAMEX® Process

Zeramex® uses the Hot isostatic pressing (HIP) process which subjects the components to both elevated temperature and isostatic gas pressure in a high pressure containment vessel.


Hot isostatic pressing (HIP) process squeezes the impurities (pores) out of materials in order to improve a number of their material characteristics.

HIPing reduces porosity, increases density and purity, and thus leads to a relevant increase in long-term life expectancy and a decrease in the tendency to sub-critical crack growth.

Hot Isostatic Pressing, unlike injection molding - which is used by other companies, is a process for the improvement of a wide variety of materials.

Using this process, voids within a casting can be reduced or eliminated and encapsulated powders can be consolidated to create fully dense materials.

Also, dissimilar materials can be bonded together to manufacture unique, cost effective components.


Hot isostatic pressing (HIP) offers many benefits in the following key areas:

      • Component quality and performance due to the fine and isotropic micro structures

      • No segregation or grain growth during manufacture

      • Dense, without segregation

      • Higher Corrosion resistance

      • A lean manufacturing route, leading to shorter production lead times

  • Producing single parts where previously several were required


Know more about the process of Hot isostatic pressing: CLICK HERE


The main use of Zirconia
(ZrO2) is in the production of hard ceramics, such as in dentistry, because of its clear to white-coloured form that has exceptional fracture toughness and chemical resistance. Zirconia based dental ceramics have been considered to be advantageous materials with adequate mechanical properties for the manufacturing of medical devices.

Dental zirconia is white, heavy, odourless, tasteless, virtually insoluble in water, slightly soluble in hydrochloric acid, HCl, and nitrous acid, HNO3, but slowly soluble in hydrofluoric acid, HF.

The metal free properties of Zirconia is suitable and ideal in making a dental implant, such as it’s biocompatibility, osseointegration, favourable soft tissue response and aesthetics due to light transmission and its color.

Zirconia in dental implants has emerged as an alternative to metal implants and can be used in various implant applications.

Materials such as aluminum and vanadium are often alloyed or blended with the titanium which can create issues of allergy, galvanism and potentially impair the immune system in a number of ways.

When differing metals are placed in the mouth or directly into the jaw bone as with a dental implant, those metals will eventually begin to release by-products from the oxidization process and are then circulated throughout the body.

Zirconia implants were developed as an alternative to titanium, steel and aluminum and were shown to be both more resilient and with better biocompatibility.

Zirconia is an inert material with very low allergic potential, there is no corrosion, no galvanism effect, no metallic taste and no electronic disturbances.

Zirconia dental implants provide safe, results that are comfortable, natural in appearance and biocompatible.

Zirconia is more compatible with the human body and has twice the flexural strength and four times the compression resistance of steel.

Zirconia also has greater resistance to acids bases found in many food.


Medical - The use of zirconia in medicine and dentistry has rapidly expanded over the past decade, driven by its advantageous physical, biological, esthetic, and corrosion properties. Zirconia orthopedic hip replacements have shown superior wear-resistance over other systems; however, risk of catastrophic fracture remains a concern. Because of an increasing demand for esthetically pleasing dental restorations, zirconia-based ceramic restorations have become one of the dominant restorative choices.

Over the years, ‘Ceramic Steel’ was a new name coined for Zirconia

Zirconia-based ceramics are used in many other applications. For instance, they can be used as auxiliaries in welding processes, as tools for wire forming, as oxygen measurement cells, as insulating rings in thermal processes, and as materials for crowns and bridges in the dental industry.

These ceramics have been developed to such an extent that infinite designs of microstructure are now possible by controlling fabrication route, composition, thermal treatment, and final machining.

Read about the other uses of Zirconia: CLICK HERE



Leave a Comment