An insight into Indium

Discovered in 1863 by German chemists Ferdinand Reich and Hieronymous Richter, Indium is an element on the periodic table. The name comes from the Latin ‘indicum’, which means violet or indigo. In nature, it’s quite rare and often found as a trace element in Zinc, Lead, Iron and Copper Sulfide ores.

Is Indium a metal?

Indium is a soft, silvery metal that is primarily extracted from Zinc or Lead ores and then purified into various grades. In metallic form, it remains malleable and ductile below -150°C. No other metal is as versatile as Indium metal is, with its various metallic forms being used for:

  • Sealing in cryogenic applications
  • Soldering or fusing applications
  • High-end device cooling

Facts and applications of Indium

Indium has a low melting point for a metal, reaching about 157°C. Above this temperature, it will burn with a violet/indigo flame, hence its name. It has a density of around 7.31 grams per cubic centimetre, an atomic weight of 114.818 and is stable in air and water. As for applications …

  • Most Indium is used to make the transparent conductive oxide, Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), a vital part of touch screens, flatscreen TVs and solar panels
  • Indium Nitride, Phosphide and Antimonide are semiconductors that are used in transistors and microchips
  • In metal form, it sticks to glass and can be used to give a mirror finish to the windows of tall buildings, a protective film on welders’ goggles and also to coat ball bearings in Formula 1 racing cars due to its low friction
  • An Indium alloy can be used on fire sprinkler systems used in shops and warehouses thanks to its low melting point

To learn more about Indium or to discover Goodfellow’s range of Indium products, get in touch with a member of the team today to see how we can help.


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