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Indium (In): Post-Transition Metals

Indium (In)

What is Indium?

Indium (In), chemical element, rare metal of main Group 13 (IIIa, or boron group) of the periodic table. Indium has a brilliant silvery-white lustre. It was discovered (1863) by German chemists Ferdinand Reich and Hieronymus Theodor Richter while they were examining zinc ore samples. The presence of a predominant indigo spectral line suggested the name. Indium is softer than lead and quite plastic. It can be scratched with a fingernail and can undergo almost limitless deformation. Like tin, the pure metal emits a high-pitched “cry” when bent. Indium is about as rare as silver. Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica

The History

Indium was discovered in 1863 by Ferdinand Reich at the Freiberg School of Mines in Germany. Reich was investigating a sample of the mineral zinc blende (now known as sphalerite, ZnS) which he believed might contain the recently discovered element thallium. From it he obtained a yellow precipitate which he thought was thallium sulfide, but his atomic spectroscope showed lines that were not those of thallium. However, because he was colour-blind he asked Hieronymous Richter to look at the spectrum, and he noted a brilliant violet line, and this eventually gave rise to the name indium, from the Latin word indicum meaning violet.

Working together Reich and Richter isolated a small sample of the new element and announced its discovery. Subsequently the two men fell out when Reich learned that when Richter, on a visit to Paris, claimed he was the discover. Continue reading from Royal Society of Chemistry

Indium Facts

Indium metal gives off a high-pitched "scream," when bent. Similar to the "tin cry," this scream sounds more like a crackling sound. The first large-scale indium application was a coating for bearings in high-performance aircraft engines in World War II, according to the USGS. Indium is vital to the world's economy in the form of indium tin oxide (ITO). This is because ITO remains the best material to fill the growing need for LCD's (liquid crystal displays) in touch screens, flat screen TVs and solar panels. Continue reading from LiveScience

Chart of Elemental Properties for Indium

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