29 May 2019

Gallium - mysterious case of the disappearing spoon

From Elemental, 8:00 am on 29 May 2019

Gallium is the second element on the periodic table named after France. It is a key element in mobile phones & Blu-ray players.

It looks like silver but melts at body temperature, a feature that fun-loving chemists used to exploit to play pranks on people, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT. They would craft a spoon from gallium, which would dissolve when the unsuspecting user went to stir the sugar in their cup of tea.

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Photo: RNZ

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The Elemental podcast is celebrating 150 years since the periodic table was first published by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev.

Find out more about events during the United Nation’s International Year of the Periodic Table.

Nights with Bryan Crump is also celebrating the chemical elements during their Friday night Sonic Tonic and Element of the Week.

Professor Allan Blackman is at Auckland University of Technology.