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Gallium, Ga, atomic number 31, is a rare metal which is well known for it's low melting point, being 85 °F, or just above room temperature. It is also peculiar in the way that it expands when it solidifies, much like water.

Gallium was predicted before it was discoved due to a hole in the periodic table, and was originally known as "eka-aluminum", because it was predicted to be very similar to aluminum. These predictions where correct, and because of this gallium is often present in small amounts in aluminum and zinc ores.

At first gallium was looked at as fairly useless, because it was far too soft to be used in anything structural, and far too expensive to be used for anything else, so scientists decided the best thing to do was make spoons out of it and give them to fellow scientists, which would melt when put into hot tea, much to the amusement of everyone involved.

More recently gallium has been used to make liquid metal alloys to replace mercury in thermometers and similar devices, and in semiconductors in tiny amounts, where it's crucial for making LEDs and laser diodes of many colors and variations.

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Galinstan Thermometer

Galinstan is an alloy of Gallium, Indium, and Tin, which results in a metal with an extremely low melting point of -2°F, often used as a replacement for mercury in thermometers. The alloy is generally about 65% gallium, 15% indium, and 10% tin, so this sample falls under gallium.

Date added(year-month-day):20111018, sample number:84

Tags(Elements in sample):gallium

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