The systematic name of ZnCn2 is zinc dicyanide, but its common name is zinc cyanide. It is a white powder that causes a toxic reaction upon inhalation or ingestion. The most common uses of zinc cyanide include metal plating, medicine and chemical analysis.
Powdered zinc cyanide degrades slightly in air to form hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous gas. Zinc cyanide is relatively insoluble in water and precipitates when solutions containing zinc and cyanide are mixed. Refiners mix aqueous solutions of gold salts with cyanide solutions to purify the gold in solution, resulting in waste zinc cyanide. Electroplating zinc from a solution that contains additional cyanide is one method of galvanizing iron.