A closeup of liquid gallium on a wood surface.

Are Liquid Metals Usable?

When you think of the definition of metal, what comes to mind? You’ll likely think of something that is solid, hard to the touch, and incredibly strong. While these properties are all synonymous with many of the metals we know today, it doesn’t apply to every metal on the periodic table. There are a few metals out there that aren’t solid at room temperature! Regarding many of the qualities that make a metal usable in the field, does that mean that liquid metals are useless? We explain everything you need to know about liquid metals below!

What Are The Liquid Metals?

There are a few metals on the periodic table that are liquid at or near room temperature. While most metals maintain a solid state at room temperature, these are the few metals that differ from that norm:

 

  • Mercury
  • Francium
  • Cesium
  • Gallium
  • Rubidium
  • Copernicium
  • Flerovium

 

Of these metals, you’ve likely heard of Mercury the most. However, most of them are relatively unknown to the average person. For some of the metals on the list, its merely due to a lack of popularity. However, some of these metals aren’t usable at all – and they can be dangerous in close proximity!

What Liquid Metals Are Unusable?

There’s a reason why liquid metals aren’t as well known amongst most people: most of them have no practical use in the field. This isn’t for lack of trying but because some of these metals are particularly dangerous. For example, copernicium, flerovium, and francium are all radioactive metals. It should go without saying that radiation is extremely bad for humans so that crosses these off the list! In addition, both cesium and rubidium are explosively reactive, eliminating any possibility of practical use.

The Usable Liquid Metals

Mercury and Gallium are the only liquid metals that have found some practical use in the field. In the case of gallium, it’s even more restricted due to the fact that it leaves behind a residue on solid surfaces. So while not inherently dangerous, gallium’s only uses tend to be in semiconductors for electricity. Mercury has a few more uses that make it the better metal – it’s a common choice for outdoor temperature thermometers, barometers, and older battery models. However, because of mercury’s toxicity, it is slowly being phased out of use.

Solid Metal Fabrication With Markham Metals

Don’t waste your time with liquid metals! The solid metals will be best for use regardless of what industry you’re in, but you’ll need to prepare them for their tasks first. Markham Metals is the best place to make that happen – we’ll form and shape your metal to the exact specifications required! To get your metals ready for use within your industry, give us a call at 978-658-1121!

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