Gallium was discovered in 1875. It has the largest liquid temperature range of any element. It melts a few degrees less than body temperature but does not boil until 2403 oC. It is one of the few that expands as it freezes, as do nonmetals and most gases. Its high boiling point makes it ideal for measuring temperatures that would vaporize a thermometer.

Gallium is found as trace-level impurities in the ores of aluminum and zinc. It can be prepared by electrolysis of aqueous solutions of their soluble salts.

Most of the gallium produced are used in the electronics industry. Alloyed with phosphorus, antimony, or arsenic, gallium is fabricated into a wide range of semiconductor devices. The use of Gallium-arsenide GaAs semiconductors improves the efficiency of computer chips. Devices which incorporate the use of GaAs semiconductors include:

BCIT Chemistry Resource Center