Gallium is a silvery-blue metal that is relatively soft and has a low melting point of just 29.76°C (85.58°F). This makes it one of the few metals that can be easily melted in the palm of your hand.
The melting point of gallium is used as a temperature reference point. Gallium alloys are used in thermometers as a non-toxic and environmentally friendly alternative to mercury and can withstand higher temperatures than mercury.
The low melting point of gallium is due to its atomic structure, which allows the metal to form a close-packed arrangement of atoms at high temperatures. This arrangement, known as a face-centered cubic lattice, provides the metal with a relatively low melting point compared to other metals with different structures.
Gallium is also known for its high thermal conductivity, which makes it a valuable material for use in electronics, optics, and other high-tech industries. It is used in the manufacture of low-melting-point alloys, such as Galinstan, which are used as solders and for sealing glass containers.
Gallium has found application in the field of semiconductors, where it is used in the production of gallium arsenide (GaAs) and other compounds. GaAs is a high-performance material that is used in the production of high-speed and high-frequency electronic devices, such as transistors, lasers, and solar cells.