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article imageVideo: Weird metal melts in hand, beats like living heart

By JohnThomas Didymus     May 7, 2012 in Science
Gallium, a unique metal with odd physical properties and behavior, is almost like a product of an alien technology. There is even an experiment called the "gallium beating heart" experiment in which the metal acts like an alien being.
According to, this metal is a favorite with scientists for weird experiments. It can shatter like glass, melt when placed on human hand and it attacks other metals in a very unusual manner. It can simulate the appearance of an alien biologic form when immersed in sulfuric acid and dichromate solution.
While many of us may not have heard of this metal, it is found in some of the gadgets we use every day.
According to, the metal does not occur in nature. It was discovered in 1875 and has been used in high temperature thermometers and in preparing metal alloys. It is used in microwave circuitry and infrared applications.
The video above showing gallium attacking aluminum, illustrates one of its weird properties.
But the weirdest experiment with gallium is the "gallium beating heart experiment." Watch the video above and see what happens when gallium is immersed in sulfuric acid and dichromate solution. According to, the strange effect is the result of a change in the surface tension of gallium.
Another fun experiment with gallium is the "melting gallium spoon." This experiment takes advantage of the fact that gallium melts at 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir hot water with a gallium spoon and it immediately melts and forms a puddle on the bottom of your mug.
According to, gallium has the advantages of the behaviour of mercury without the disadvantage of toxicity. says:
"You could make your own barometers and thermometers, and not worry about calling in a hazardous materials team to clean up after any accidents. You could simply wipe up the mess with a paper towel. You wouldn't have to worry about breathing in toxic mercury fumes, but you could still make neat little electric motors that dip into liquid metal to make their electrical connections."
Although gallium is not toxic to humans, scientists warn against using it outside the laboratory for pranks.
More about gallium, Metal, melts in your hands