Germanium Facts

Germanium Facts
Germanium (Ge) is a gray-white element known as a semi-metal. It has an atomic number of thirty-two and has a high luster at room temperature.
Interesting Germanium Facts:
Germanium is another element that was predicted by Mendeleev in 1871.
His predictions for what would be the atomic number, weight, and properties were very close to germanium's actual characteristics.
It wasn't discovered until 1886 when Clemens Alexander Winkler isolated it in the mineral argyrodite.
Argyrodite mineral was discovered to contain silver, sulfur, and something unknown, which Winkler found to be germanium.
Winkler decided to name this new element after the newly discovered planet Neptune, but the name was already taken.
He named germanium after his home country of Germany instead.
Germanium in a pure form is too highly reactive to occur naturally.
It is often found in compound state or in minerals.
Germanium is found in the Earth's crust at about 1.6 parts per million.
Fairly rare, only about 118 tons of germanium are produced annually.
Germanium is recyclable, and about 35% of it are used annually from reclaimed sources.
Germanium didn't become a useful element until 1945, when researchers discovered its excellent semiconducting properties.
It was mainly used for transistors in the twentieth century.
When fiber optics became important, germanium was used in that field.
Now, 85% of the world consumption of germanium is in fiber optics.
Germanium has five isotopes found in nature.
As many as twenty-seven radioisotopes of germanium have been discovered.
The half-life of one of its radioactive isotopes is 130 billion times the predicted age of the entire universe.
Germanium has been found in the atmosphere of Jupiter and in distant stars.
Germanium is believed to have no toxic effect on plants or animals, but its scarcity might contribute to that belief.
At concentrated levels in humans, its salts have led to renal failure and other conditions leading to death.
Practitioners have used germanium to treat anemia, and it is not allowed as a nutritional supplement by the FDA.
Germanium was thought to have antibacterial properties, but it is not recognized for that use.
It was also believed to be a treatment for cancer, but that has also been disallowed.

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