Pure zinc is unsuitable because it will not react with water quantitatively. Zinc with suitable characteristics had been available from BDH. As BDH zinc is not produced specifically for hydrogen isotopic analysis its characteristics in the application are unreliable. During the 1980's, privately funded research at Indiana University resulted in a proprietary method to prepare zinc turnings for rapid quantitative reduction of water to H2. Our "optimally contaminated" zinc, which we are calling "Indiana Zinc", is used in many dozens of laboratories worldwide. It has a long-standing track record of providing reproducible hydrogen stable isotope ratios (for example, see Schimmelmann and DeNiro, 1993).
All batches of Indiana Zinc are thoroughly tested in our laboratory with VSMOW and SLAP isotope standard waters before being released. Indiana Zinc is a research material offered for use without guarantees and without acceptance of any responsibilities for damages arising from its use or possible failure in any application. It is not sold for profit and is distributed as a service to those engaged in geochemical and clinical research.