Weird Metals: From Explosive to Edible

When you think of metal, you most likely think of strength and toughness. Here are five weird metals that will challenge your notion that they are anything but elementary.

Gallium

The element gallium is a soft, silvery-white metal that is solid at room temperature but it can literally melt (safely) in the palm of your hand, and feels like cold, melted solder. It’s one of the metals used in thermometers.


Copernicium

Copernicium is another weird metal that acts differently depending on temperature. At room temperature, it’s actually a gas, and has a half-life of only 29 seconds.


Francium

Francium is an alkali metal and very unstable. It may explode upon contacting the moisture in the air or with water and the entire area would be contaminated with radioactive material. It is unlikely that anyone has ever reacted the metal with water as it’s super rare and expensive. It’s also not visible to the naked eye.


Caesium

One of the most reactive of metals, it actually explodes when it hits water. It’s also one of the most dangerous waste products – it’s radioactive – of a nuclear power plant (ie. Fukushima). With a melting point of 28.4ºC, it resembles liquid gold at room temperature.

 


Bismuth

Bismuth is a silvery, pink-tinged metal, which happens to be one of the easiest metal crystals that you can grow yourself, forming complex rainbow-coloured geometric structures. Bismuth is the main ingredient in the antacid medicine, Pepto-Bismol.

Grow your own crystal bismuth

 

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