Thallium is a chemical element. Atomic Number: 81. This soft gray malleable poor metal resembles tin but discolors when exposed to air. Pure thallium is a bluish-white metal that is found in trace amounts in the earth's crust. Its use has been reduced or eliminated in many countries because of its nonselective toxicity. Both discovered the new element in residues of sulfuric acid production. Approximately 60-70% of thallium production is used in the electronics industry, and the rest is used in the pharmaceutical industry and in glass manufacturing. Atomic weight: 204.3833. It is also used in infrared detectors. Thallium is highly toxic and was used in rat poisons and insecticides. When freshly exposed to air, thallium exhibits a metallic lustre, but soon develops a blueish-grey tinge, resembling lead in appearance. A heavy oxide builds up on thallium if left in air, and in the presence of water the hydroxide is formed. The metal is very soft and malleable. Thallium is partially water-soluble and consequentially it can spread with groundwater when soils contain large amounts of the component.
Thallium is used for making low-melting point special glass for highly reflective lenses. Thallium salts are used as reagents in chemical research. Thallium is highly toxic and is used in rat poisons and insecticides, but its use has been cut back or eliminated in many countries. Thallium sulphate is still sold in developing countries where it is still permitted as a pesticide, although banned in Western countries. Since its electrical conductivity changes with exposure to infrared light, it is used in photocells. It can be cut with a knife. It is used for sink-float separation of minerals. Thallium amalgam is used in thermometers for low temperature, because it freezes at
-58 °C (pure mercury freezes at -38 °C).
Thallium is a very soft, malleable, lustrous low-melting, silvery metal that tarnishes in air to the bluish-gray oxide. In appearance it resembles lead.
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