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What elements are liquids at room temperature?

Two elements are liquid at room temperature (298 K):
  • Bromine (Br), an reddish brown liquid with
    a suffocating odor, melts at 265.9 K.

  • Mercury (Hg), a toxic metal, melts at 234.32 K.
    (See Why is mercury a liquid at STP?)

Four elements melt just a few degrees above room temperature.

Francium (Fr), a radioactive and extremely reactive metal, melts around 300 K. The false color image at left shows 10,000 francium atoms in a laser trap. (For more about francium, see the Orozco group's francium research page at SUNY-Stony Brook.)

Cesium (Cs), a soft metal that violently reacts with water, melts at 301.59 K. Like francium, cesium's low melting point and softness is a consequence of the size of its atoms: Cs atoms are larger than those of any other known element. The positive charge of a Cs+ core is spread over the atom's large surface area, and less energy is required to push Cs atoms out of place in the metal.

Stupid gallium trick. Gallium (Ga), a grayish metal, melts at 303.3 K. Gallium's near-ambient melting point is sometimes demonstrated with a picture of a gallium rod liquefying in someone's bare hand. Wear gloves if you try this yourself: gallium causes skin rashes and can depress bone marrow function.

Rubidium (Rb), another soft reactive metal, melts at 312.46 K.

Further reading

  1. L.J. Norrby, "Why is mercury liquid? Or, why do relativistic effects not get into chemistry textbooks?" Journal of Chemical Education, 68, 110-113 (1991).
  2. D. S. Rustad, "How soft is mercury? (Letter to the Editor)", Journal of Chemical Education, 64, 470 (1987).
  3. G. H. Wagner, "Gallium", Journal of Chemical Education, 29, 162 (1952).

Author: Fred Senese senese@antoine.frostburg.edu

General Chemistry Online! What elements are liquids at room temperature?

Copyright © 1997-2010 by Fred Senese
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Last Revised 02/15/10.URL: http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/periodic/faq/liquid-elements.shtml