Back in 2013, Carol Gowans was interviewed by Kalwinder Kaur for an article which appeared on AZO Materials’ website. The full article can be found here. I thought they brought up many good points –let’s take a closer look:
“Question: Electrically and thermally conductive? What else can it do?
Answer: Indium metal is found in many fusible alloys. These alloys are designed to melt at very specific temperatures. For example, fusible alloys are used in fire sprinkler applications. When a fire starts and reaches the melting temperature of the fusible alloy, the water is released, suppressing the fire.
Because indium metal remains malleable at cryogenic temperatures, it is used to manufacture equipment that will operate in harsh environments (such as outer space). It is also used for cryogenic seals, and, because it deforms to fill in voids, it makes a tight, hermetic seal.
Solder is also a very popular application of this versatile metal. The addition of indium to solder alloys can reduce the reflow temperature, improve thermal fatigue, minimize gold leaching, and improve wetting to a variety of surfaces. It also provides the basis for a variety of Pb-free alloys.”
Here is another post which lists some of the unique properties of indium which make this element so useful.