Video: Melting of Gallium

In this demonstration, we will see gallium melt at skin temperature and on a hotplate and we will see liquid gallium cast in a strawberry mold, highlighting the important differences between liquids and solids.


Video Overview

Gallium is a special metal. Out of the nearly 100 metal elements, only two are liquids at body temperature: gallium and mercury. Completely nontoxic, gallium is rarely used in its pure form, except to make joke spoons that melt in your tea.

Gallium is the perfect visual example of the properties of solids and liquids. When molten, gallium will take the shape of its container;

Melting of Gallium-72 ppi edited

but, given enough time to cool, it will hold its shape.

Melting Gallium 2

Why does gallium have such a low melting point?

On the periodic table, gallium is in the same group as aluminum and indium and sits next to zinc and germanium. All these other metals have relatively high melting points.