Zirconium Versus Zirconium Carbide For Use With Galinstan

  • Thread starter evansste
  • Start date
  • Tags
  • #1
I'm planning on working with galinstan, for one of my projects. I need a conductor that can be immersed in the galinstan, indefinitely, without being corroded.

I've learned that zirconium carbide has excellent chemical resistance, when it comes to galinstan. However, no one seems to sell it in the form of a wire. On the contrary, it is possible to buy zirconium wire.

Does anyone know whether or not zirconium has the same, or similar, chemical resistance traits as zirconium carbide? If not, is anyone aware of any other metals, that can be bought in sheets or wires, that don't react with galinstan?

Thanks for your time. I look forward to any advice, or guidance, that anyone is willing to provide.
Chemistry news on Phys.org
  • #2
How about graphite? You can use the mine of a pencil.
  • #3
Thanks, DrDu.

Graphite may be an alternative. However, it seems a bit fragile. As of now, I've decided to go with 316 stainless steel.

When I first started researching galinstan, it seemed as if it reacted with nearly all metals. I stumbled accross the following document, which shows that it doesn't react with zirconium carbide:


After having trouble finding zirconium carbide wire, I continued to do more digging. Ultimately, I found the following link, which showcases research that suggests that galinstan is non-reactive with stainless steel, as long as you stick with temperatures below 200C:


Because I intend to use my galinstan at room temperature, and because stainless steel is readily available, and has excellent physical properties, I've chosen to use it.

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question. I greatly appreciate your willingness to help.
  • #4
Um, 'stainless' steel may not remain so due to electrolysis...

However, IIRC, there is 'graphite' and graphite: The higher density stuff, perhaps carbon fibre in web or tube form, may suit. Also, be readily sourced, reproducible and predictable. FWIW, a tubular strut, either for eg R/C modelling or a fishing rod would likely have the strength to hold its shape while pushing into the dense metal fluid...
  • #5
Thanks for your input, Nik_2213.

I appreciate you mentioning the side effect of electrolysis. However, it still makes me wonder why stainless steel wouldn't continue to be suitable.

I've watched a few YouTube videos of experimenters choosing to use stainless steel for electrodes, when building their electrolysis machines. It tends to be their material of choice. Here's one, that I've watched:

The above is just one video. Perhaps it's the material of choice, in many YouTube videos, due to it's easy availability.

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of these YouTube videos aren't performed by actual chemists. However, I'm also intrigued by their level of experience. They're actually building these things, and are showing the results, online.

On the other hand, your comment caused me to dig a little deeper, which resulted in me finding the following; which warns against using stainless steel:


And then I found this; which, also, talks about graphite, and makes me wonder about titanium:


Finally, the following link gives great support for graphite/graphene:


So, based on all of this, your suggestion of graphite, in proper form, should be good.
  • Like
Likes Nik_2213
  • #6
After giving this further thought, I began to wonder if electrolysis will even take place, between galinstan and another metal; such as stainless steel. After all, I'm dealing with metal in galinstan, not water.

As it turns out, someone has already performed research, on this issue, and the result is that, with stainless steel, I need not worry about corrosion, or electrolysis.

Here's a link, for anyone who's interested:

  • Like
  • Informative
Likes Tom.G and Nik_2213