Friday/ gallium

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The entry for gallium from an 1960s Time-Life Book on the Elements.

I had some credit on Amazon after sending in my old iPad for recycling, and browsed around for items of interest to buy.  (The challenge with Amazon is not what to buy, of course.  It is what not to buy, with the overwhelming variety of items on sale).   Anyway, I checked out the section that sells little bits of scrap metal (yes, there is one). Why would I buy a bit of metal? Well, the notion of a little bit of 100% pure metal appeals to the alchemist in me.

And there are some curious metals.  Mercury is definitely at the top of the list, but it is very poisonous. So I settled for a vial of the metal called gallium. Gallium is a brittle, soft metallic element that becomes a liquid at around only 85°F (29.4 °C), meaning it will melt in one’s hands or in warm water. (Even though it’s not poisonous, it’s probably not a good idea to touch it, since it sticks to one’s skin, I read on-line).   Check out this YouTube clip of a gallium spoon used to stir hot water, here.

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.. and here’s what the vial of Gallium looks that I ordered from Amazon. It’s not cheap! .. but not super expensive, either. This vial cost about $55.


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