Gallium does not exist in free form in nature, nor are there any gallium-rich minerals that might serve as primary sources of extraction of the element or its compounds.
Gallium (chemical symbol Ga, atomic number 31) is a rare, soft, silvery metal.
Some flue dusts from burning coal have been shown to contain as much as 1.5 percent gallium.
Most gallium is extracted from the crude aluminum hydroxide solution of the Bayer process for producing alumina and aluminum.
Many isotopes of gallium are known, ranging from 56Ga to 86Ga.
When liquid gallium solidifies, it expands by 3.1 percent.
Before gallium was discovered, the element and many of its properties had been predicted and described by Dmitri Mendeleev, on the basis of its position in the periodic table.
Gallium, its alloys, and its compounds have many applications.
Gallium is one of the metals—along with cesium, francium, and mercury)—that is liquid at or near normal room temperature.
Gallium is most commonly used in the form of the compound gallium(III) arsenide, which is a semiconductor useful for integrated circuits, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and laser diodes.
In 1875, Lecoq de Boisbaudran discovered gallium by the technique known as spectroscopy.
Gallium also diffuses into the crystal lattice of most other metals.
Gallium does not crystallize into any of the simple crystal structures.
Gallium easily alloys with many other metals, and it was used in small quantities in the core of the first atomic bomb to help stabilize the plutonium crystal structure.
When the element is handled with bare hands, the skin acquires a gray stain from an extremely fine dispersion of liquid gallium droplets.
High-purity gallium is attacked slowly by mineral acids.
Gallium is not considered toxic, but the data about its effects are inconclusive.
High-purity, metallic gallium has a brilliant, silvery color.
The nitride and phosphide of gallium are also valuable semiconductor materials, and gallium itself is used as a dopant in semiconductors.
Gallium occurs in trace amounts in bauxite (an aluminum ore) and zinc ores.
By contrast, like most metals, finely divided gallium loses its luster—powdered gallium appears gray.
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