|Density (at 0oC)||5.91 g/cm3|
|Boiling point||2502 K|
|Melting point||302.9146 K|
Gallium is a soft, light silver metal. It largely exists as a trace element in minerals and compounds. Gallium is unique in its low melting point (average human body temperature is enough to melt it) but a high boiling point.
Gallium arsenide and gallium nitride are used in red and blue/green LED lights, respectively. Both compounds are also used in semiconductors. Gallium arsenide has a molecular structure similar to silicon and can act as a substitute, particularly in electronics, and was used in the solar panels for the Mars Rover. Gallium nitride is also used Blu-ray technology, mobile phones, and pressure sensors for touch switches.
Gallium will alloy with most metals and is often used in low-melting point alloys due to its own low melting point. Gallium's high boiling point makes it useful for recording high temperatures that would normal destroy a regular thermometer, since it takes very high temperatures for gallium to reach the point of vapourisation. It is sometimes used as non-toxic substitute for mercury in regular thermometers.
For Further Reading
- Made internally by a member of the Energy Education team.
- Royal Society of Chemistry Periodic Table, Gallium [Online], Available: http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/31/gallium
- Wikimedia Commons, File:6N Gallium sealed in vacuum ampoule.jpg [Online], Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:6N_Gallium_sealed_in_vacuum_ampoule.jpg
- John Emsley, "Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements", Oxford University Press, New York, 2nd Edition, 2011.
- See more videos from the University of Nottingham on different elements here: http://www.periodicvideos.com/