“Liquid Terminator” experiment

How to break aluminum using gallium

Here is how to break alu­minum as if it were glass!

Reagents and equip­ment:

  • gal­li­um;
  • alu­minum item;
  • scalpel or oth­er sharp ob­ject (nail, knife);
  • glass;
  • hot wa­ter;
  • ham­mer.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Melt gal­li­um in hot wa­ter and pour on to the alu­minum item. Scratch it with the scalpel or knife. Wait for half an hour. Hit the item with a ham­mer.

Pro­cess­es de­scrip­tion

Al­loys are ma­te­ri­als that con­sist of a mix­ture of chem­i­cal el­e­ments. Al­loys are used in var­i­ous fields of sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy be­cause of their unique prop­er­ties. Stain­less steel, for ex­am­ple, is used in medicine, con­struc­tion and in the home be­cause it has high anti-cor­ro­sive and me­chan­i­cal prop­er­ties. But there are al­loys which can cause dis­as­ters, for ex­am­ple an al­loy of gal­li­um and alu­minum. When gal­li­um and alu­minum in­ter­act, a very frag­ile al­loy is formed, which can be bro­ken with a ham­mer and even with your hands.

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Af­ter work­ing with gal­li­um, wash your hands thor­ough­ly with soap.

Warn­ing! Only un­der pro­fes­sion­al su­per­vi­sion.