RUSS LAPPA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSS LAPPA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A piece of Gallium melting in the hand. Gallium is a soft, silvery metal belonging to group IIIA of the periodic table. It has a melting point of only 29.8 degrees C. Gallium occurs in small amounts in zinc blende, magnetite, pyrite, bauxite gallite and kaolin. Although bauxite contains only 0.01% gallium, it is the only commercial source. The metal has only a few minor uses, but the compound gallium arsenide is an important semiconductor. Gallium was one of the elements predicted by Mendeleev from his early periodic table. It was first identified by Francois Lecoz de Boisbaudran, in 1875, during a spectroscopic study of zinc blende, and has the chemical symbol Ga.
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