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Any of a group of techniques used to purify an element or a compound or to control its composition by melting a short region (called a zone) and causing this liquid zone to travel slowly through a relatively long ingot, or charge, of the solid. In zone refining, the most important of the zone-melting techniques, a solid is refined by multiple molten zones being passed through it in one direction. Each zone carries a fraction of the impurities to the end of the solid charge, thereby purifying the remainder. Zone refining is particularly important as a method of purifying crystals, especially for use in semiconductor devices.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on zone melting, visit Britannica.com.
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