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.
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.
Author: Fred Senese email@example.com
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/print-liquid-elements.shtml