First proposed to exist by Dmitri Mendeleyev in 1871 based on gaps in his newly created Periodic Table of Elements, germanium was discovered by the German chemist Clemens Winkler in the mineral argyrodite (Ag8GeS6) in 1886. (Gagnon, p. 1) Classifications Germanium is classified to be metalloid and grayish white in color. The atomic number of the element is 32 with an atomic weight in 72. 64. The element has a melting point of 1211. 40K (938. 25C or 1720. 85F) It also has a boiling point of 3106K (2833C or 5131F) While its density is at 5. 323 grams per cubic centimeter.
The element is solid in its pure state. In pure state, the element is crystalline and brittle, retaining its luster in air at room temperature. (Los Alamos Chemistry Lab Division, 2003 p. 1) Germanium is stable in air and water, and is unaffected by alkalis and acids, except nitric acid. (Lentech, 2007, p. 1) The element Germanium as it has been mentioned can be found in coal mines however these are just one of the by-products of the processes that coals undergo.
Germanium is less abundant than either tin or lead, which are the heavier component metals of group 14, and it is less easily accessed because geological processes have contracted only small amounts of it into minerals, so that it tends to be widely dispersed. (Lentech, 2007, p. 1) In addition, locating Germanium ores are difficult to find. Germanium ores are rare. The least rare, germanite, is a copper-iron-germanium sulfide with 8% of the element, but even this is not mined. (Lentech, 2007, p. 1) Usage Germanium serves its purpose in electronics particularly as semi-conductors.
Germanium is an important semiconductor, mainly used in transistors and integrated circuits. (Lentech, 2007, p. 1) In addition, When germanium is doped with arsenic, gallium, or other elements, it is used as a transistor element in thousands of electronic applications. (Los Alamos Chemistry Lab Division, 2003 p. 1) Germanium also has other uses. Germanium is also finding many other applications including use as an alloying agent, as a phosphor in fluorescent lamps, and as a catalyst. (Los Alamos Chemistry Lab Division, 2003 p. 1) Germanium can also be used in infrared technologies.
Germanium and germanium oxide are transparent to the infrared and are used in infrared spectroscopes and other optical equipment, including extremely sensitive infrared detectors. (Los Alamos Chemistry Lab Division, 2003 p. 1) In addition, The high index of refraction and dispersion properties of its oxides have made germanium useful as a component of wide-angle camera lenses and microscope objectives. (Los Alamos Chemistry Lab Division, 2003 p. 1) The element Germanium and its chemical content have also been given importance due to its capabilities to facilitate chemotherapy.
Certain germanium compounds have a low mammalian toxicity, but a marked activity against certain bacteria, which makes them useful as chemotherapeutic agents. (Los Alamos Chemistry Lab Division, 2003 p. 1) Recent studies also have shown that Germanium can contribute to an individuals health. A high intake of germanium was supposed to improve the immune system, boost the bodys oxygen supply, make a person feel more alive and destroy damaging free radicals. (Lenntech, 2007, p. 1) Compounds and Chemical Processes Germanium to be in its state undergoes a chemical process.
Germanium can be separated from other metals by fractional distillation of its volatile tetrachloride (Los Alamos Chemistry Lab Division, 2003 p. 1) Also, this process creates a high purity level for Germanium. The techniques permit the production of germanium of ultra-high purity. (Los Alamos Chemistry Lab Division, 2003 p. 1) Traces of Germanium can also be seen in different compounds. Germaine or germanium hydride is a colorless gas GeH4 prepared by the action of lithium aluminum hydride on germanium halide in an ether solution. (Barbalace, 2007, p. 1) This compound is dangerous because of its poisoning and flammability content.
Germaine is a hazardous substance UN2192 which is classified as a poisonous gas (2. 3). (Barbalace, 2007, p. 1) There are other compounds produced by Germanium. Other compounds include: Germanium dichloride Ge Cl2, Germanium dioxide GeO2, Germanium tetrachloride GeCl4 this is very irritating to eyes and membranes. (Barbalace, 2007, p. 1) These compounds have been found to be dangerous in the environment. Germanium hydride and germanium tetrahydride are extremely flammable and even explosive when mixed with air. (Lenntech, 2007, p. 1)
Barbalace, K. L. (2007) Periodic Table of Elements: Germanium: Ge in EnvironmentalChemistry. com Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://environmentalchemistry. com/yogi/periodic/Ge. html#Overview Jefferson Lab. Its Elemental: Germanium. Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://education. jlab. org/itselemental/ele032. html Lenntech Water Treatment & air purification Holding B. V. (2007) Germanium Ge. Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://www. lenntech. com/Periodic-chart-elements/Ge-en. htm Los Alamos National Labs Chemistry Division. (2003) Germanium. Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://periodic. lanl. gov/elements/32. html