You pour water into the cup ready for a nice hot cup of tea. As you start stirring to mix the tea bag you find your spoon dissolving instead! Is this possible? Check out the video below.
That's because the spoon is made out of Gallium, also known as GA31, a brittle metal which at about 29 °C reaches its melting point and turns into liquid.
Although not the stuff to make tea spoons from, this chemical element is useful in making several other things. For example, it is used in electrochemical fuel cells, high-temperature thermometric applications, blue and violet light-emitting diodes (LEDs), pharmaceuticals and radiopharmaceuticals in medicine and in producing diode lasers.
Compounds made with Gallium are also in wide use, for example, Gallium Arsenide is used in microwave circuitry and infrared applications. Gallium Nitride and Indium Gallium Nitride are used in some semiconductor uses. Gallium's melting point can also be used as a temperature reference point.
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