Nontoxic metal alloy that is liquid at room temperature

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32 Responses to “Nontoxic metal alloy that is liquid at room temperature”

  1. airshowfan says:

    Dibs on using this stuff in Bruce Schneier’s next movie-plot contest!

  2. George William Herbert says:

    I have a hard time justifying “isn’t really toxic” relative to a material that catches on fire on exposure to water.

    Yes, ok, NaK is not a biological toxin. But neither is Phosphorous or Calcium (both key minerals!) – but I don’t recommend eating the metallic form of either.

  3. vamidus says:

    It also makes a very attractive coolant. It also can be moved around by magnetic fields. Too bad it’s corrosive property and price make it very tricky to implement.

  4. Xopher says:

    Pretty pretty! Sounds like a fun toy.

    (The ‘it’ in the title should be ‘is’.)

  5. Takuan says:

    hmmm,. seems to have useful properties for fuzing..

  6. ill lich says:

    Nontoxic huh? What does it taste like?

  7. FreakCitySF says:

    I wish weight was given, so I can shop around, maybe I want to spend less than 50-60 dollars just to experiment with.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Nontoxic huh? What does it taste like?Chicken.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I used reagent grade gallium as a means of attaching electrodes to large (4mm) single Zinc Sulfide crystals.Indium solder wouldn’t wet to the crystals and butyl nitrate based silver electrodes would just peel off. I was advised that gallium was toxic so I didn’t play around with it outside of my experiment.I was always of the opinion that very few metals were truly nontoxic and that their oxide coats offered us some protection.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I dare you to drink it,

    Non toxic my a$$,

    Dr j

  11. Gilbert Wham says:

    Right, I need a swimming pool FULL of this stuff, stat!

  12. cognitive dissonance says:

    where’s the fun in it being nontoxic?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Nice! I remember playing with mercury a couple times as a kid, and have been saddened that, for entirely understandable reasons, kids today wouldn’t be able to do the same. It really changes your perceptions of what it means for something to be liquid (and yet not wetting) and metal (and yet not solid). Even challenging preconceptions about the relationship between density and solidity. So I’m really happy this stuff exists.

  14. Brainspore says:

    How reactive is this stuff on Aluminum? Are we talking “cola on a human tooth” corrosion or “facehugger blood on a spaceship bulkhead” corrosion?

  15. Anonymous says:

    If this eats aluminum, I am sure it is absolutely prohibited to bring this on any aircraft. For the same reason it is not generally allowed to bring mercury based thermometers onto aircraft.

    So beware: don’t order this by air mail. You might get in trouble. ;)

  16. Tweeker says:

    NaK is also liquid at room temperature, and isnt really toxic. A bit caustic though, and a tad reactive.

  17. overunger says:

    But which one is the T-1000?

  18. A former race mechanic says:

    20 ºC != -4 ºF

    20 ºC = 68 ºF

  19. wynneth says:

    I may be wrong, but in the 50s didn’t they say playing with mercury was safe too??

  20. A former race mechanic says:

    Whoops, gotta pay better attention to those line breaks!

  21. Wingo says:

    I’ve played with gallium before. Super fun stuff.

    They use it in a lab around where I work to simulate the flow of molten iron in the earth’s core. Along with giant electro-magnets and sheets of lasers, of course…

  22. iamanangelchaser says:

    Gallinstan is great, but it’s pricey compared to mercury and (and this is its biggest failing): it wets glass. Mercury does not. So you can’t have a gallinstan thermometer, for example, because surface tension will cause the metal to spread all over the interior of the glass tube.

  23. Takuan says:

    “Facehugger Blood”, thanks, you just gave me a name for my next bottling run!

  24. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Well, since both of them are injected for nuclear medicine scans, the non-toxicity has millions of case studies to back it up.

  25. jimkirk says:

    Freaky City, gallium is about 6 grams per cubic centimeter. The vial looks to be about 1 cc, depending on the size of Joel’s fingers, so 5 or 6 cc would be my guess.

    United Nuclear has it 5 grams for $50, 1 gram for $15. http://www.unitednuclear.com/chem.htm.

    They caution not to store it in glass or metal containers. Besides the corrosive properties, it expands more than 3% when it solidifies, and could shatter the container.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Could it work if you used plastic or siliconized glass to make the thermometer out of? I guess the cost would still make it prohibitive with digital thermometers having gotten so good and so cheap the last few years.

  27. SamSam says:

    @A former race mechanic: -20 ºC == -4 ºF

  28. Anonymous says:

    Gallium is thought to interfere with osteoclast function[1].

    As gallium maltolate it is only in clinical and preclinical trials as a potential* treatment for cancer, infectious disease, and inflammatory disease [2].

    Just because it; could be? Keep in mind there is no known biochemical detoxification pathways either. With known tendencies to substitute Iron in its binding form?

    So, Still going to drink it sweetheart?

    Dr. J

    http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CDG/content/CDG_gallium_nitrate.asp

    http://www.hindawi.com/GetArticle.aspx?doi=10.1155/MBD.2000.33

  29. Anonymous says:

    are these goods magnetic?

  30. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Is this a room-temperature-metals Blog Post Battle?

    Wow Mark, you should hear the stuff Xeni is saying about you in the other thread..

  31. Anonymous says:

    msds looks like it is fairly safe

    http://www.espi-metals.com/msds%27s/gallium.pdf

  32. Anonymous says:

    does anyone know what to do if you break a thermometer and gallinstan spreads on stuff?

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