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Element Gallium, Ga, Poor Metal

History of Gallium

Main article: Eka-aluminium.

Before its discovery, most of its properties had been predicted and described in the classic articles about elements natural system and its application for describing yet no discovered elements by Dmitri Mendeleev, who called the hypothetical element eka-aluminium, on the basis of its position in his periodic table. His prediction was brilliantly when the new element was discovered spectroscopically by Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1875 by its characteristic spectrum in an examination of a zinc blend from the Pierrefitte Mountain in Pyrenees. He called the new-discovered element gallium (Latin Gallia meaning Gaul (essentially modern France); also gallus, meaning "rooster"), the French for which is "le coq", mentioning the Lecoq de Boisbaudran's surname.

Gallium's discovery had been the greatest Gallium triumph of Mendeleev's periodic system.

Occurrence of Gallium

Gallium is a typical trace element, poor metal, sometimes considered as a rare element. Its crustal abundance is quite big, 1.5x10-3 mass %. However gallium does not exist in free form in nature, and concentration is less than 100 ppm or 0.01% of a rock's composition. Gallium minerals were unknown even 100 years ago before Ramdorf's report about new mineral species of gallium ores from Tsumeb, Namibia and Kipushi mine in Zaire. It was gallium and copper sulphides mixture CuS2 called gallite and described by Strunz, Geier and Seeliger in 1958. Primary zinc-rich ore body contains the minerals sphalerite, cobalt-bearing chalcopyrite, germanite and gallite. Sphalerite from floutite-sulphide deposits is especially rich by gallium. Gallium is found and extracted as a component in bauxite, germanite, and sphalerite. Apatite-nepheline ores deposited in Khibin range of the Kola region of Russia are also very rich by gallium (0.01 - 0.04%). Gallium's concentrations in other minerals are as follows: sphalerite (ZnS) - 0.001%, pyrite (S2) - 0,001%, germanite (Cu3S4) - 1.85%, zircon (zirconium silicate ZrSiO4) - 0.001 - 0.005%, spodumene (LiAlSi2O6) - 0.001 - 0.07%. Some flue dusts from burning coal esp. in England have been shown to contain small quantities of gallium, typically less than 1.5% by weight.

Gallium abundance in Universe is estimated to be 10-6% by mass or 2x10-7% (by atom.); 4x10-6% (mass.) or 6x10-7% (atom) on the Sun; in meteorites 7.8x10-4% by mass and in seawater 3x10-9% by mass.

Gallium'a role for life processed is not understood. According to some hypotheses gallium's presence in English coal is a result of some vital processes. Galium is needed for some fungi such as myco Aspergillus which is a close relative to mold and for Lemna minor, lesser duckweed, which is one the world's smallest flowering wetland plants.


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