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Indium

What Is Indium?

Indium is a silvery-white post-transition or poor metal. It has a bright lustre, is very soft, malleable, and easily fusible and has a low melting point. It is most commonly found with zinc ore processing but is also found in iron, lead and copper ores.

When bent it emits a high-pitched cry and some of its compounds are carcinogenic that can cause severe organ failure if injected. However, oral indium compounds are not toxic like the salts of other heavy metals and it is used as radiotracer to follow white blood cells and proteins in the body.

What Is Indium Used For?

Indium is used for making low melting point alloys, is found in lead free solders and is primarily used in transparent electrodes for LCD’s and touchscreens. Radioactive indium is used in nuclear medicine tests. It is used as plating for materials like bearings, silver, moving parts and transistors. Seals are created from indium wire.

Where Is Indium Produced?

Indium is usually viewed as a by-product of the mining industry and is produced mainly from the residues of zinc ores and through recycling of electronic equipment. China is the largest producer of indium, while Canada is also a producer; it has the largest indium resource in the world. Bolivia is another large resource of indium production as well.

Conclusion

Indium is mostly produced as a by-product from zinc ore mining, it is a poor metal with a bright lustre and a silvery-white colour. In its natural form it is not toxic but some of its compounds are carcinogenic. It is widely used in LCD’s and touchscreens and is used in nuclear medicines and radiotracers. China is the largest producer of indium with Canada coming in a close second.

If you would like to learn more about minerals and mining visit our Mining and Metals page.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

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