The element gallium is an unexpected metal—it's a soft, silvery-white metal that is solid at room temperature (similar to aluminum) but it can literally melt in the palm of your hand. It's bizarre and a little unsettling to see, but it makes sense. The melting point for gallium (which is represented on the Periodic Table as Ga) is relatively low, at 85.6°F (29.8°C). However, the boiling point for this element is quite high, at 4044°F (2229°C). This quality makes gallium ideal for recording temperatures that would destroy a thermometer. According to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, gallium is "one of four metals — mercury, cesium, and rubidium — which can be liquid near room temperature and, thus, can be used in high-temperature thermometers. It has one of the longest liquid ranges of any metal and has a low vapor pressure even at high temperatures."
When you think of metal, you most likely think of strength and toughness. Well, element gallium is here to change that perception.
Related: Astatine, Earth's Rarest Element
Melts In Your Hands, Not On Your Table
What Else Is It Good For?
Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos On Bizarre Elements
Gallium Is The Strange Metal That Melts In Your Hands
Watching this element melt in lukewarm water is quite a trip.
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Key Facts In This Video
Gallium is a solid metal at room temperature, but it melts in your hands. 00:09
When gallium is in its liquid state, if feels like cold melted solder in your hands. 00:33
Melting gallium onto aluminum makes the aluminum brittle enough to break with your fingers. 01:35
What's A Gallium Beating Heart?
The gallium beating heart is a chemistry demonstration in which a drop of gallium is made to pulsate, like a beating heart.