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<---Gallium       Arsenic--->

Elements for Kids

Germanium

The element germanium

  • Symbol: Ge
  • Atomic Number: 32
  • Atomic Weight: 72.64
  • Classification: Metalloid
  • Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
  • Density: 5.323 grams per cm cubed
  • Melting Point: 938°C, 1720°F
  • Boiling Point: 2833°C, 5131°F
  • Discovered by: Clemens Winkler in 1886


Germanium is the third element of the fourteenth column of the periodic table. It is classified as a metalloid. It is similar in properties to the other metalloids near it in the periodic table which are silicon and arsenic. Germanium atoms have 32 electrons and 32 protons with 4 valence electrons in the outer shell.

Characteristics and Properties

Under standard conditions Germanium is a hard, shiny, silvery-gray solid that is very brittle. It is one of the few elements that expands when it freezes or turns solid.

As a metalloid, germanium has both metal and non-metal qualities. It also is a semiconductor, which means it has electrical conductivity between an insulator and a conductor. This characteristic has led to it being used in electronics.

Germanium does not react with oxygen at room temperatures, but will form germanium dioxide at higher temperatures.

Where is germanium found on Earth?

Germanium is a fairly rare element that is found in the Earth's crust. Although there are some minerals that contain a fair amount of germanium like germanite and argyrodite, they are too rare to be mined. The majority of germanium that is used by industry is produced as a byproduct of mining sphalerite zinc ore where it is found in small traces.

How is germanium used today?

The majority of germanium is used in optical systems. This is because Germania (GeO2) has good qualities for working with light and lasers. Applications like cameras, fiber optics, and microscopes take advantage of these qualities. It is also used in infrared optics.

Other applications include electronics (where it is combined with silicon to make silicon germanium (SiGe), solar cells, and some metal alloys.

How was it discovered?

Germanium was first predicted to exist by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869 based on the periodic table. However, it was German chemist Clemens Winkler who first isolated the element and proved its existence in 1886. Winkler found the element in the mineral argyrodite.

Where did germanium get its name?

Germanium gets its name from Winkler's home country Germany.

Isotopes

There are five naturally occurring isotopes of Germanium. The most common is Germanium-74.

Interesting Facts about Germanium


More on the Elements and the Periodic Table

Elements
Periodic Table

Alkali Metals
Lithium
Sodium
Potassium

Alkaline Earth Metals
Beryllium
Magnesium
Calcium
Radium

Transition Metals
Scandium
Titanium
Vanadium
Chromium
Manganese
Iron
Cobalt
Nickel
Copper
Zinc
Silver
Platinum
Gold
Mercury
Post-transition Metals
Aluminum
Gallium
Tin
Lead

Metalloids
Boron
Silicon
Germanium
Arsenic

Nonmetals
Hydrogen
Carbon
Nitrogen
Oxygen
Phosphorus
Sulfur
Halogens
Fluorine
Chlorine
Iodine

Noble Gases
Helium
Neon
Argon

Lanthanides and Actinides
Uranium
Plutonium

More Chemistry Subjects

Matter
Atom
Molecules
Isotopes
Solids, Liquids, Gases
Melting and Boiling
Chemical Bonding
Chemical Reactions
Radioactivity and Radiation
Mixtures and Compounds
Naming Compounds
Mixtures
Separating Mixtures
Solutions
Acids and Bases
Crystals
Metals
Salts and Soaps
Water
Other
Glossary and Terms
Chemistry Lab Equipment
Organic Chemistry
Famous Chemists


Science >> Chemistry for Kids >> Periodic Table





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