Is Gallium Flammable? 

This article will answer the question, is Gallium flammable? It also covers several topics about Gallium, its characteristics and applications, the first aid treatment of Gallium exposure, the fire handling method, and the storage management of Gallium to prevent flame.

Is Gallium Flammable?

Powdered Gallium is flammable. It reacts with nearly every metal at high temperatures. Heat capacity of 0.09 cal/g °C at room temperature (0-24°C) and latent heat fusion of 19.16 cal/g. 

In dry air, this element is stable, but it begins to rust when exposed to moisture or oxygen. Hydrogen is also produced when it reacts with alkalies. 

What is Gallium?

This metal’s name is derived from the French word “Gaul,” which refers to France. The periodic table’s atomic number 31 and the element’s chemical symbol, Ga, identify Gallium. 

In the hands of Gallium, an uncommon soft metal, it melts rapidly at low temperatures but more slowly at room temperature. 

The compound gallium arsenide, utilized as a semiconductor in light-emitting diodes, is its most important use. Because Gallium has a melting point of 29.2 °C, this metal will melt if we touch it. 

Gallium can be found in some metal ores, such as bauxite. In addition, coal contains a significant concentration of Gallium.

At a concentration of 16.9 ppm, the earth’s crust contains a significant amount of Gallium. The abundance of lead, cobalt, and niobium is comparable to this.

It is impossible to find Gallium in its purest form in the wild. Since the mineral does not contain a certain amount of Gallium that can be concentrated, it is more widely spread, making it more challenging to get than lead. 

What are the Properties of Gallium?

As a solid, orthorhombic crystal structure, Gallium is bluish-gray; as pure Gallium, it’s silvery.

Mercury, cesium, and rubidium are all solids at ambient temperature, but they turn into liquids when heated just a little bit.

Gallium has the broadest range of liquid temperatures of any element. There is a 2373 °C gap between Gallium’s melting and boiling temperatures. 

As a result, Gallium’s boiling point is eight times greater than its melting point on an absolute scale. This is by far the most excellent element-to-total mass ratio. 

When it freezes, Gallium expands like water. The economy grows at a 3.1% annual rate. Gallium’s ability to cool down is another uncommon feature. 

Chilling a substance below its freezing point is possible without transforming it into a solid known as supercooling.

The more detailed characteristics of Gallium are as follows:

  • Symbol: Ga
  • Group: III A
  • Form: Solid
  • Neutron: 40
  • Electron: 31
  • Proton: 31
  • Color: Silvery blue
  • Density at 20°C: 5,907 g/cm3
  • Atomic mass: 69.723
  • Boiling point: 2473 K
  • Melting Point: 302.91 K
  • Electron shell: 2,8,18,3
  • Electron configuration: [Ar] 3d10 4s2 4p1

What are the Applications of Gallium?

Here are a few examples of Gallium applications in various industries:

  • Electronics consume the vast majority of today’s gallium production
  • In Blu-ray players, gallium semiconductor diodes are employed as blue laser diodes
  • Glass, porcelain, and leather can all be wetted with liquid Gallium
  • Ultra-bright blue LEDs can be made using gallium arsenide, a chemical compound
  • Gallium, indium, and lead are used in medical thermometers in place of mercury, which is more hazardous
  • It’s an excellent mirror-making material because of the reflecting properties of Gallium
  • The crystal structure of nuclear bombs is stabilized by the use of Gallium

What is the First Aid Treatment When Exposed to Gallium?

  • After you’ve taken a breath of it, get some fresh air. Treating the symptoms is the most effective way to deal with a problem. Consult a physician if your symptoms do not improve after a few weeks.
  • Medical attention should be sought as soon as possible if you consume it. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by a medical practitioner. Never, ever, ever give anything to drink to someone unconscious. 
  • Irrigate your eye for at least 15 minutes if it has come into touch with it. If at all feasible, take out your contacts. Seek help from a physician.
  • If it touches your skin, use soap and water to thoroughly clean it. If the irritation persists after washing, make an appointment with your doctor.

What is the Fire Handling Method?

Heat can still start fires even if Gallium is not highly flammable. In the event of a fire, follow these steps:

  • Using a water hose, douse containers that have been damaged by fire. Fire-exposed containers should be cooled down with water until the blaze is put out.
  • In the event of a fire or explosion, avoid inhaling the fumes.
  • Remove containers from the fire area if it is safe to do so.
  • The typical protective gear for firefighters includes flame-resistant clothing, gloves, a helmet, and rubber boots.
  • Dousing the flames with water won’t help no matter how hard you try. Gases that are caustic, unpleasant, and potentially deadly could be released due to the fire.

You can learn more here

How is the Storage of Gallium to Prevent Flame?

  • Use a dry gas to protect your hands. After using, always wash your hands thoroughly
  • Handle while protected by a dry gas. After handling, wash your hands thoroughly. Acids, halogens, aluminum/aluminum alloys, magnesium/magnesium alloys, and oxidizing agents should not be stored together
  • Smoking and eating are prohibited in the workplace. Eat and smoke only after adequately washing hands. Do not use compressed air to remove dust from clothing or skin
  • Ensure adequate ventilation to keep concentration levels at or below the threshold

Conclusion

Unlike other elements, Gallium has a unique set of properties. Gallium can be found in a wide range of products. 

The powdered form of Gallium is flammable. However, it is not categorized as a highly flammable element. While Gallium can be used safely and securely, caution and applicable health and safety standards should be conducted.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs): Is Gallium Flammable?

Is the metal gallium toxic?

Non-toxic in its elemental state, gallium metal is safe to play with and handle. It’s safe to inhale or consume gallium compounds. However, they should not be inhaled or ingested.

Gallium is what kind of metal?

Gallium is a metal that was discovered after the end of the transition period. The transition metals and metalloids (non-metals) are separated by these metallic elements on the periodic table.

Citations

https://www.angstromsciences.com/sites/angstrom.dev.minimalmedia.net/files/files/SDS/Gallium.pdf
https://www.zeiss.com/content/dam/Microscopy/Downloads/Pdf/MSDS/MSDS-Gallium.pdf
https://www-s.nist.gov/m-srmors/msds/994-MSDS.pdf

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