Gallium (Ga)

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Gallium 31Ga69.723

Discovered in 1875 von Paul-Êmile Lecoq de Boisbaudran at Paris, France.

[Latin, Gallia = France]

French: gallium
German: Gallium
Italian: gallio
Spanish: galio

Description: Gallium is a soft, silvery-white metal, and has the longest liquid range of all the elements. It is stable in air and with water; it dissolves in acid and alkalis. Gallium has semiconductor properties, especially as gallium arsenide. It is used in light-emitting diodes and microwave equipment.


Further Materials properties


Crystal structure:

(cell dimensions/pm), space group, 
a-Ga orthorhombic (a=451.86, b=765.70, c=452.58), Cmca
β-Ga orthorhombic (a=290, b=813, c=317), Cmcm (metastable form)
γ-Ga orthorhombic (a=1060, b=1356, c=519), Cmc21
T(γ -> a) = 238 K
High pressure form: (a=279, c=438), I4/mmm

X-ray diffractions mass absorption coefficients: CuKa 67.9 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKa 60.1 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 0.7288 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 2.9 sa / barns
Density: 5907 kg/m-3 [293 K]; 6113.6 [liquid at m.p.]
Melting point: 29.78°C / 302.93°K
Boiling point: 2402.85°C / 2676°K
Molar volume: 11.81 cm3
Thermal conductivity: 40.6 [300 K] W m-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 11.5 x 10-6 (a axis); 31.5 x 10-6 (b axis); 16.5 x 10-6 (c axis) K-1
Electrical resistivity: 27 x 10-8 [273 K] Ωm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: -3.9 x 10-8(s) kg-1m3
Young's modulus: 9.81 GPa
Rigidity modulus: 6.67 GPa
Bulk modulus: n.a.
Poisson's ratio: 0.47 GPa
Radi: Ga3+ 62; Ga+ 113; atomic 122; covalent 125
Electronegativity: 1.81 (Pauling); 1.82 (Allred); ≤3.2 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 5.00 (Slater); 6.22 (Clementi); 6.72 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 23
Isotope mass range: 62-> 83



Biological data


Biological role: None, but gallium acts to stimulate metabolism.
Toxic intake: < 15 mg kg-1 tolerated without apparent harm
Lethal intake: LD50 (chloride, injection, rat) = 47 mg Kg-1
Hazards: Gallium salts generally have low toxicity.
Level in humans
Blood: <0.08 ppm
Bone: n.a.
Liver: 0.0025 ppm
Muscle: 0.0014 ppm
Daily dietary intake: n.a. but low 
Total mass of element in average
[70 kg] person:
< 0.7 mg


Geological data


Minerals:Gallium minerals are rare, but gallium occurs in other ores to the extent of 1%.
MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Gallite  CuGaS2  4.40 (calc.)  3 - 3.5  tet., met. grey

The ores diaspore, sphalerite, germanite and bauxite contain traces of gallium. Coal can also have a high gallium content.

Chief ores: Gallium is recovered as a by-product of zinc and copper refining
World production: 30 tonnes/year
Main mining areas: see copper and zinc.
Reserves: n. a.
Specimen: available as ingot, and as ultrapure gallium. Safe.


Sun: 631 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 18 ppm
Seawater 3 x 10-5 ppm
Residence time: 10 000 years
Classification: n.a.
Oxidation state: III

  Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

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1 18
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