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Got Gallium, what reaction is this?

  1. Apr 23, 2015 #1
    I know little to nothing about chemistry, but am fascinated by its physics.

    Bought some gallium off amazon, which came shipped via AIR from china!!!! (my God I hope that wasn't a passenger plane) and wow is it ever neat stuff.

    Any ways of course I wanted to try putting some Gallium on Aluminum. Sure enough within no time the aluminum became all flaky and brittle. What kinda of reaction is that?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2015 #2

    DaveC426913

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    First things first: You admit knowing little to nothing about chemistry.

    Are you taking proper safety precautions for handling gallium?
     
  4. Apr 24, 2015 #3

    DrDu

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    Aluminium is a very reactive compound. That Aluminium appears so inert in everyday applications is due to it being covered with a thin but air tight and very hard surface sheet of aluminiumoxide which prevents the bulk from being oxidized further. However, if you alineate with Gallium, no closed oxide sheet can form any more and the aluminium will get oxidized also in the bulk. I also assume that the alineation of Ga with Al is simply more brittle.
     
  5. Apr 24, 2015 #4

    DrDu

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  6. Apr 24, 2015 #5
    Know enough that shipping it on a plane is bad idea!! lol

    I had read the wiki on it and other general info. Didn't see anything alarming with respect to poisoning*, only suggestion was to wear gloves & to keep the gallium "contained" (as in a "play area").

    There is such a thing as poisoning from some gallium alloy that's used in citrus drinks like mountain dew!! effect is dermatitis iircc.
     
  7. Apr 24, 2015 #6
    That is all that seemed to change. That said the brittle aluminum (after gallium) was flaky, in that it appeared as though the aluminum was "layered" and the layers had separated. A you tube video of the same thing was done in a time lapse and it looks as though the gallium is absorbed into the aluminum.

    So did the aluminum and gallium make new molecules? Or did it did the gallium "work its way" into the aluminum weakening the molecular structure of aluminum?

    I tried googling "alineate", because to me it's jargon I don't know if it's misspelled. Given the search results, is that "alienation"?
     
  8. Apr 24, 2015 #7
    See these three NurdRage videos:- here,here and here.
    Here is something amazing you might want to try with your Gallium. However DO NOT try that BEFORE learning a good bit of chemistry.
    Sulfuric Acid is a highly dangerous compound, and proper precautions must be exercised at all times when handling it.
    Cheers.
     
  9. Apr 24, 2015 #8

    DrDu

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    Sorry, I mixed this up with Spanish. I wante to say "to alloy".
     
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