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Indium Metal Demonstration

  • Indium

  • A fun part of any job is sharing what you do with others. Lately I’ve had the opportunity to share a demonstration of pure indium properties at a few different events. The demonstration of simply letting someone bend a bar of indium is always fun to watch. At a recent National Manufacturing Day event, a few students even asked if I had any indium they could bend to show their friends! These students were happy to show off their ‘feat of strength’.

    Another memorable demo event happened a few days ago. I had a chance to meet with a doctoral student who has been very involved with indium compounds, but had never experienced the pure metal. I handed a new 16mm diameter bar to him, and his professor suggested he bend it. Expecting resistance, the student prepared himself accordingly, as the bar gave way before he had a chance to exert any real effort into bending the rod. His smile reassured me that this was still interesting, even to someone who works with some really advanced properties of indium materials.

    Bending bars of indium isn’t the only thing in which students seem to be interested. We recently had someone ask to try cold welding two pieces of indium. This offered the chance to demonstrate the difference between cold welding two clean pieces of indium compared to two of the pieces which had been handled by many other students. Contamination from handling made a big difference in the amount of pressure that was needed to fuse the rods of indium.

    So, why is it important to demonstrate these characteristics of indium? Well, there are still many chemists, scientists, engineers, and technologists out there who don’t know about the unique properties of indium. My hope is that indium can be a ‘tool’ in the ‘toolkit’ of materials available for future applications. I mean, it’s not going to be a solution to the next tech issue if the developers don’t know about it, right? If you’re interested in learning more about indium, you’re in the right place. Check out the rest of The Indium Blog here.