The Element Indium
Atomic Number: 49
Atomic Weight: 114.818
Melting Point: 429.75 K (156.60°C or 313.88°F)
Boiling Point: 2345 K (2072°C or 3762°F)
Density: 7.31 grams per cubic centimeter
Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
Element Classification: Metal
Period Number: 5
Group Number: 13
Group Name: none
What's in a name? Named after the bright indigo line in its spectrum.
Say what? Indium is pronounced as IN-dee-em.
History and Uses:
Indium was discovered by the German chemists Ferdinand Reich and Hieronymus Theodor Richter in 1863. Reich and Richter had been looking for traces of the element thallium in samples of zinc ores. A brilliant indigo line in the sample's spectrum revealed the existence of indium. Indium is about as abundant as silver but is much easier to recover since it typically occurs along with zinc, iron, lead and copper ores.
Indium is used to coat the bearings of high speed motors since it allows for the even distribution of lubricating oil. Indium is used to dope germanium to make transistors. It is also used to make other electrical components such as rectifiers, thermistors and photoconductors. Indium can be used to make mirrors that are as reflective as silver mirrors but do not tarnish as quickly. Indium is also used to make low melting alloys. An alloy of 24% indium and 76% gallium is a liquid at room temperature.
Estimated Crustal Abundance: 2.5×10-1 milligrams per kilogram
Estimated Oceanic Abundance: 2×10-2 milligrams per liter
Number of Stable Isotopes: 1 (View all isotope data)
Ionization Energy: 5.786 eV
Oxidation States: +3
3s2 3p6 3d10
4s2 4p6 4d10
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For questions about this page, please contact Steve Gagnon.