Chemical Fact Sheet


Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 7440-55-3
Synonyms GALLIUM (DOT); UN2803 (DOT)
Analytical Methods 200.8 - 6020
Atomic Symbol Ga

Synopsis from the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 92nd Edition 2011-2013

Gallium (L. Gallia, France), Ga; at. wt. 69.723(1); at. no. 31; m.p. 29.76 C; b.p. 2204 C; sp. gr. 5.904 (29.6 C) solid; sp. gr. 6.095 (29.6 C) liquid; valence 2 or 3. Predicted and described by Mendeleev as ekaaluminum, and discovered spectroscopically by Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1875, who in the same year obtained the free metal by electrolysis of a solution of the hydroxide in KOH, Gallium is often found as a trace element in diaspore, sphalerite, germanite, bauxite, and coal. Some flue dusts from burning coal have been shown to contain as much as 1.5% gallium. It is the only metal, except for mercury, cesium, and rubidium, which can be liquid near room temperatures; this makes possible its use 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. There is a strong tendency for gallium to supercool below its freezing point. Therefore, seeding may be necessary to initiate solidification. Ultra-pure gallium has a beautiful, silvery appearance, and the solid metal exhibits a conchoidal fracture similar to glass. The metal expands 3.1% on solidifying; therefore, it should not be stored in glass or metal containers, as they may break as the metal solidifies. Gallium wets glass or porcelain, and forms a brilliant mirror when it is painted on glass. It is widely used in doping semiconductors and producing solid-state devices such as transistors. High-purity gallium is attacked slowly only by 4-14 The Elements mineral acids. Magnesium gallate containing divalent impurities such as Mn+2 is finding use in commercial ultraviolet activated powder phosphors. Gallium nitride has been used to produce blue light-emitting diodes such as those used in CD and DVD readers. Gallium has found application in the Gallex Detector Experiment located in the Gran Sasso Underground Laboratory in Italy. This underground facility has been built by the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in the middle of a highway tunnel through the Abruzzese mountains, about 150 km east of Rome. In this experiment, 30.3 tons of gallium in the form of 110 tons of GaCl3-HCl solution are being used to detect solar neutrinos. The production of 71Ge from gallium is being measured. Gallium arsenide is capable of converting electricity directly into coherent light. Gallium readily alloys with most metals, and has been used as a component in low melting alloys. Its toxicity appears to be of a low order, but it should be handled with care until more data are forthcoming. Natural gallium contains two stable isotopes. Twenty-six other isotopes, one of which is an isomer, are known. The metal can be supplied in ultrapure form (99.99999+%). The cost is about $5/g (99.999%).

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