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Indium     

Indium

Atomic Weight 114.818
Density 7.31 g/cm3
Melting Point 156.6 °C
Boiling Point 2072 °C
Full technical data

The commercial unit of trade for indium is the one-kilogram bar, which is a lot of indium. Its major uses are in low-melting-point alloys that replace mercury in thermometers, and in flat screen televisions.

Scroll down to see examples of Indium.
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!
Indium Invisible wires on screen

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Invisible wires on screen.
You can't see the indium tin oxide wires connecting the individual pixels in this old cell phone screen, because they are transparent. That is the whole point of using indium tin oxide.
Source: Theodore Gray
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 17 April, 2009
Text Updated: 17 April, 2009
Price: Donated
Size: 2"
Purity: <5%
Indium Indium foil

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Indium foil.
Indium is often used to form air-tight seals between glass components because it is soft enough to mold itself to the shape of the glass, and because unlike rubber or other organic seal materials it is really 100% gas-tight and it doesn't release volatile compounds of its own. For high-vacuum applications only glass and metal can come in contact with the vacuum because anything else would either out-gas or leak.
Source: Ethan Currens
Contributor: Ethan Currens
Acquired: 14 June, 2008
Text Updated: 14 June, 2008
Price: Donated
Size: 2"
Purity: 99.9%
Indium Spool of indium wire

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Spool of indium wire.
This is one of several spools of indium wire I got on eBay for about half the market price at the time. My theory is that the reason it went so cheap is that the seller listed it as 63.5 ounces, while the market price of indium is generally quoted in kilograms. Nobody did the math.
See, there are some advantages to living in a country with a dysfunctional education system: More chances to take advantage of the innumerate. Oh, why bother pretending, this place is going to the dogs, what more proof do you need than below-market indium?
Source: eBay seller halide2
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 8 March, 2008
Text Updated: 8 March, 2008
Price: $765/4
Size: 4"
Purity: 99.99%
Indium Indium rod

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Indium rod.
This is very, very high purity indium, and the surface texture comes not from bending (as one might do to hear the crackling sound it makes) but rather from etching to show the crystal structure.
Source: Juan Jimenez
Contributor: Juan Jimenez
Acquired: 2 December, 2007
Text Updated: 7 December, 2007
Price: Donated
Size: 2.5"
Purity: 99.99999%
Indium Indium foil

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Indium foil.
Indium foil like this is typically used in high-vacuum systems to form a seal between glass components. It is soft enough to squeeze into the glass surfaces and form a perfect seal. Unlike rubber, it does not give off gases of its own, or allow air to diffuse through slowly.
Source: eBay seller assetrecoveryctsystems
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 24 February, 2007
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009
Price: $17/20
Size: 1.5"
Purity: >99%
Indium Element coin

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Element coin.
Dave Hamric sells element samples under the name Metallium. He's developed a line of coins struck out of various common and uncommon metals: They are quite lovely, and very reasonably priced, considering the difficulty of creating some of them.

Indium is extremely soft, so this coin needs to be protected from curious people with thumbnails.

Here is the back side of this coin (click either picture to see it larger):

Click the Sample Group link below to see many other coins made of various elements, or click the link to his website above if you want to buy one like this.
Source: Dave Hamric
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 1 December, 2006
Text Updated: 14 January, 2007
Price: $16
Size: 0.75"
Purity: >99%
Sample Group: Coins
Indium Commemorative pin

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Commemorative pin.
Just a little pin, probably meant to be handed out at trade shows or something, made by the Indium Corporation of America.
Source: eBay seller threelittlelambs
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 30 October, 2006
Text Updated: 5 December, 2006
Price: $16
Size: 0.75"
Purity: 0%
Indium Vacuum seal foil

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Vacuum seal foil.
This very soft indium foil is used to create seals between glass components in high-vacuum systems. The indium is soft enough to deform into any pits and irregularities in the glass just like a rubber seal would. But unlike rubber, indium doesn't give off all sorts of vapors and leak like a sieve. ("Leak like a sieve" being a relative term: In most applications rubber would be considered airtight, but some air and moisture does still make it through, and when you're trying to create a really good vacuum it would be completely inadequate.)
Source: Ethan Currens
Contributor: Ethan Currens
Acquired: 30 October, 2006
Text Updated: 19 November, 2007
Price: Donated
Size: 2"
Purity: 99%
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!
Indium Cut ingot

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Cut ingot.
This is about 3/5 of a 1kg ingot of high purity indium metal. The remainder was mainly used up making melting spoon alloy, which is 51% indium. The price of indium was very high at the time this sample as committed to the collection, but may well go down (or up), so don't take the price listed as particularly reflective of the price at any time in the future.

I chose this sample to represent its element in my Photographic Periodic Table Poster. The sample photograph includes text exactly as it appears in the poster, which you are encouraged to buy a copy of.
Periodic Table Poster

Source: Max Whitby of RGB
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 20 September, 2005
Text Updated: 4 May, 2007
Price: $450
Size: 2.5"
Purity: 99.99%
Indium Six 70g ingots

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Six 70g ingots.
This is a second batch if indium ingots from the same source as the three listed above. I assume they were from the same source, melted down from some thick indium wire that a guy got from Boeing. These ones are engraved with their weight, probably just by scratching with a sharp stick: Indium is seriously soft. I am not sure of their purity, but will test them eventually, and the price was right, again.
Source: eBay seller ezthirfty
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 5 June, 2003
Price: $20/each
Size: 2"
Purity: >99%
Indium Sample from the Everest Set

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Sample from the Everest Set.
Up until the early 1990's a company in Russia sold a periodic table collection with element samples. At some point their American distributor sold off the remaining stock to a man who is now selling them on eBay. The samples (except gases) weigh about 0.25 grams each, and the whole set comes in a very nice wooden box with a printed periodic table in the lid.

To learn more about the set you can visit my page about element collecting for a general description and information about how to buy one, or you can see photographs of all the samples from the set displayed on my website in a periodic table layout or with bigger pictures in numerical order.

Source: Rob Accurso
Contributor: Rob Accurso
Acquired: 7 February, 2003
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009
Price: Donated
Size: 0.2"
Purity: >99%
Indium Sample from the RGB Set

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Sample from the RGB Set.
The Red Green and Blue company in England sells a very nice element collection in several versions. Max Whitby, the director of the company, very kindly donated a complete set to the periodic table table.

To learn more about the set you can visit my page about element collecting for a general description or the company's website which includes many photographs and pricing details. I have two photographs of each sample from the set: One taken by me and one from the company. You can see photographs of all the samples displayed in a periodic table format: my pictures or their pictures. Or you can see both side-by-side with bigger pictures in numerical order.

The picture on the left was taken by me. Here is the company's version (there is some variation between sets, so the pictures sometimes show different variations of the samples):


Source: Max Whitby of RGB
Contributor: Max Whitby of RGB
Acquired: 25 January, 2003
Text Updated: 11 August, 2007
Price: Donated
Size: 0.2"
Purity: 99.99%
Indium Three 70g ingots

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Three 70g ingots.
These ingots were melted down from some thick indium wire that a guy got from Boeing. I am not sure of their purity, but will test them eventually, and the price was right.
Source: eBay seller ezthirfty
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 4 January, 2003
Price: $30
Size: 2"
Purity: >95%
Indium Crying bars

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Crying bars.
When you bend it, indium gives out a "cry" much like the better-known "tin cry". Neither of them is really much like a cry, as you can hear if you play the sound for this sample.

This sound file is a bit larger than most, because it's a super-high fidelity recording made in the "dead end" studio at WGBH Boston, using the finest high sensitivity microphones available, and I didn't want to lose anything by compressing it. My host family when I attended the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, Jane and Miles, are both sound engineers at WGBH, and they kindly set up a recording session to capture this important element sound.

When Oliver Sacks came to visit me he liked these bars so much that I gave him one to take home, so there are actually only two left in the table.

Source: Mark Rollog
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 31 July, 2002
Text Updated: 11 August, 2007
Price: $5/each
Size: 2.5"
Purity: >99%
Indium Ingot

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Ingot.
Purchased by Ed from Randolph Zerr, estuff@aol.com, on eBay in May 2002. Those marks you see in the picture are from people's fingernails: This stuff is very soft!
Source: eBay seller estuff
Contributor: Ed Pegg Jr
Acquired: 8 May, 2002
Price: $20/50 grams
Size: 1.5"
Purity: >99%
Indium Himalayan sea salt

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Himalayan sea salt.
There is a list of 84 elements that seems to pop up repeatedly in the ingredient lists of "natural" mineral products, supplements, pills, and the like. Even, it turns out, in salt. Here then is the list of minerals claimed to be found in all-natural organic Himalayan sea salt:
hydrogen, lithium, beryllium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, fluoride, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, chloride, calcium, scandium, titanium, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, gallium, germanium, arsenic, selenium, bromine, rubidium, strontium, yttrium, zirconium, niobium, molybdenum, ruthenium, rhodium palladium, silver, cadmium, indium, tin, antimony, tellurium, iodine, cesium, barium, lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, hafnium, tantalum, tungsten, rhenium, osmium, iridium, platinum, gold, mercury, thallium, lead, bismuth, polonium, astatine, francium, radium, actinium, thorium, protactinium, uranium, neptunium and plutonium.
I wish someone would tell these people that, for example, neptunium and plutonium do not occur in nature at all, let alone in salt. Unless, I suppose, if you count nuclear fallout as a "natural" source of ingredients.
What bothers me most is what this says about the level of scientific literacy, both of the people selling the stuff, and the people buying it. Does no one actually read the list? Or do they read it an not realize how preposterous it is? It's enough to make you despair for the future of mankind.
Pretty salt, though.
Source: eBay seller saltwonders
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 March, 2009
Text Updated: 4 April, 2009
Price: $15
Size: 0.25"
Composition: NaClSbCsDyErEuGdHfHoInLaLuNdPrSmScThTlTeTbTmYbY
Indium Himalayan salt lamp

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Himalayan salt lamp.
A pretty hollow lamp made of solid rock salt from the Himalays. The composition I list is a partial list of the elements claimed to be in this type of salt (see my other Himalayan sea salt sample for a discussion of how silly this is).
Source: eBay seller saltwonders
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 March, 2009
Text Updated: 3 April, 2009
Price: $29
Size: 8"
Composition: NaClSbCsDyErEuGdHfHoInLaLuNdPrSmScThTlTeTbTmYbY
Indium Yanomamite

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Yanomamite.
Micromount of a few 0.15mm balls of bluish white Yanomamite associated with Topaz and Cassiterite from the Periquito Mine, Goias, Brazil.
Source: eBay seller merlyn8804
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 24 March, 2009
Text Updated: 25 March, 2009
Price: $60
Size: 0.2"
Composition: InAsO4.2H2O
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!
Indium Insane mineral capsules

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Insane mineral capsules.
These minerals capsules are called "Immune Boost 77", from Morningstar Minerals. They are either being incredibly honest, or they really don't understand what they're saying when they list what amounts to nearly the entire periodic table on the label, as the "trace minerals" they contain.

Here is the list in all its glory, typed in by my daughter in exchange for my paying for a membership in the Miley Cyrus fan club: Antimony, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Boron, Bromine, Calcium, Carbon, Cerium, Cesium, Chloride, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Florine, Gadolinium, Gallium, Germanium, Gold, Hafnium, Holmium, Indium, Iodine, Iridium, Iron, Lanthanum, Lithium, Lutetium, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Neodymium, Niacin, Nickel, Niobium, Osmium, Palladium, Phosphorus, Platinum, Potassium, Praseodymium, Rhenium, Rhodium, Rubidium, Ruthenium, Samarium, Scandium, Selenium, Silicon, Silver, Sodium, Strontium, Sulfur, Tantalum, Thallium, Thorium, Tellurium, Terbium, Thulium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Vanadium, Ytterbium, Yttrium, Zinc, Zirconium.

Some of them are just silly, like thulium, which has absolutely no biological function. Others are a bit scarier, like thallium and thorium that are deadly poisons, and tellurium, which makes you smell of rotten onions for weeks.

Basically what they've done is list everything that occurs in even trace amounts in mixed monazite sand, which is kind of what the stuff inside looks like. The only reason they aren't seriously harmful (I assume) is that most of these are not actually present in any meaningful quantity.

My attention is drawn to these and other similar mineral supplements every time I decide to see if anything interesting has popped up on eBay for one or another of the obscure rare earths. Generally speaking if you search eBay for those guys you get very little of interest unless you turn on the option to search the text of the item description as well as the titles. Then you get lots of trace mineral supplements that one can only hope don't actually contain them.

Source: eBay seller grandma-adams
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 24 March, 2009
Text Updated: 29 March, 2009
Price: $15
Size: 0.75"
Composition: SbCsDyErEuGdHfHoInLaLuNdPrSmScThTlTeTbTmYbY
Indium Photo Card Deck of the Elements

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Photo Card Deck of the Elements.
In late 2006 I published a photo periodic table and it's been selling well enough to encourage me to make new products. This one is a particularly neat one: A complete card deck of the elements with one big five-inch (12.7cm) square card for every element. If you like this site and all the pictures on it, you'll love this card deck. And of course if you're wondering what pays for all the pictures and the internet bandwidth to let you look at them, the answer is people buying my posters and cards decks. Hint hint.
Source: Theodore Gray
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 19 November, 2008
Text Updated: 21 November, 2008
Price: $35
Size: 5"
Composition: HHeLiBeBCNOFNeNaMg AlSiPSClArKCaScTiVCrMn FeCoNiCuZnGaGeAsSeBrKr RbSrYZrNbMoTcRuRhPdAg CdInSnSbTeIXeCsBaLaCePr NdPmSmEuGdTbDyHoErTm YbLuHfTaWReOsIrPtAuHgTl PbBiPoAtRnFrRaAcThPaUNp PuAmCmBkCfEsFmMdNoLrRf DbSgBhHsMtDsRgUubUutUuq UupUuhUusUuo
Indium Field's metal crust

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Field's metal crust.
Nice smooth samples of the elements are boring if you ask me. They just don't make for interesting photographs, and the more symmetrical they are the less interesting it is to see them rotated around a full circle (which is how I photograph all new samples these days). This crust of Field's Metal (named after Simon Quellen Field, who runs scitoys.com) is a perfect example: I scraped it from the side of a jar at Simon's house, and it's got a much more interesting texture than a plain melted piece. Plus if you look at the rotation video you can see a completely different kind of surface on the other side.
Source: Simon Quellen Field
Contributor: Simon Quellen Field
Acquired: 4 September, 2007
Text Updated: 6 September, 2007
Price: Donated
Size: 1"
Composition: InBiSn
Indium Liquid Metal Alloy

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Liquid Metal Alloy.
This is a metal that's liquid at room temperature, and it's not mercury. Instead, it's a mixture of gallium, indium, and tin, similar to the alloy Galinstan which is now replacing mercury in thermometers. You can buy little bottles like this from scitoys.com.
Source: Simon Quellen Field
Contributor: Simon Quellen Field
Acquired: 13 February, 2007
Text Updated: 14 February, 2007
Price: Donated
Size: 1"
Composition: GaInSn
Indium Field's metal

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Field's metal.
Field's metal is a low-melting-point alloy, which will melt in hot water. It's named after Simon Quellen Field, who runs scitoys.com, a great site for educational and scientific toys and kits. He sells this alloy in the form of lengths of metal-filled plastic tubing, which you can easily melt or cut it out of.
Source: Simon Quellen Field
Contributor: Simon Quellen Field
Acquired: 13 February, 2007
Text Updated: 14 February, 2007
Price: Donated
Size: 5"
Composition: InBiSn
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!