The Instrumentation Center

Gallium

gaboxContributor: Melissa Yamsek

About the Display: The Ga display features:

  • pure Ga metal - although a metal that can melt in your hand may seem fairly useless, gallium is actually pretty common! It is used to make alloys with other metals, in transistors, in light emitting diodes, even in microwaves! Because of its large liquid range, gallium is also used in high temperature thermometers!
  • Ga metal flakes
  • a spoon made of Ga*
  • The cover of the book The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements by Sam Kean

 *Viewers may notice that there is what appears to be a metallic puddle in place of the spoon. This is due to the fact that gallium has a relatively low melting point of  just 85.58o F (29.76C). [The temperature of the display boxes -33 degrees C- can be read from the thermometer in the Mercury box!] When placed in the display, the spoon was actually solid. The bowl tip of the spoon can still be seen in the cup, where it is shielded from the LED light in the display box, although it has lost most of its mass to the puddle on the saucer. The idea to include the spoon comes from the book featured in the display, which details the disappearing spoon prank as a classic laboratory prank: to serve someone hot tea or coffee with a gallium spoon and watch their reaction as the spoon vanishes before their eyes!

About the Contributor:melissa Melissa Yamsek is a biochemistry undergraduate student at the University of Toledo.

Back to the Periodic Table

Symbol: Ga

Atomic Number: 31

Atomic Mass: 69.723 u

Electron Configuration: [Ar] 3d104s24p1

Year Discovered: 1875

Discovered By: Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran

Last Updated: 9/13/17