An inorganic compound consisting of a white solid, zinc cyanide is used primarily in electroplating, but also has specialized applications in the synthesis of certain organic compounds. This compound is typical for an inorganic polymer as it is insoluble in most solvents, and only dissolves (or rather, degrades) when exposed to aqueous solutions such as hydroxide, ammonia, and additional cyanide to provide anionic complexes. Zinc cyanide synthesis is a fairly simple process involving the combination of aqueous solutions of cyanide and zinc ions. In commercial application synthesis, there is some effort made to prevent halide impurities by applying acetate salts of zinc. Zinc cyanide is also a byproduct of certain gold extraction methods. In the electroplating process, zinc cyanide is used for electroplating zinc from aqueous solutions that contain additional cyanide.
The function of zinc cyanide in organic synthesis to introduce the formyl group to aromatic compounds as a more convenient and safer alternative to hydrogen cyanide.