Gallium Spoon Tricks

Gallium, the metal that melts in your hand

Gallium melts in the heat of your hand.

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Gallium is a shiny metal with one property in particular that makes it perfect for science tricks. This element melts just above room temperature (around 30°C or 86°F), so you can melt it in the palm of your hand, between your fingers, or in a cup of hot water. A classic set-up for gallium tricks is to make or purchase a spoon made from pure gallium. The metal has about the same weight and appearance as stainless steel, plus once you melt the spoon, you can reshape the gallium to use it again and again.

Gallium Spoon Materials

You need either gallium and a spoon mold or else a gallium spoon. It's a bit more expensive, but if you get the mold, you can make a spoon over and over. Otherwise, you'll need to mold the metal by hand to re-use it as a spoon.

The Mind-Bending Gallium Spoon Trick

This is a classic magician trick in which the trickster rests a gallium spoon on a finger or else rubs it between two fingers, appears to concentrate, and bends the spoon with the power of his mind. You've got a couple of ways to pull off this trick:

  • Rest the spoon on a finger that you warmed up right before the trick. Easy ways to warm your hand are to hold a cup of hot tea or coffee or simply put your hand under your armpit briefly.
  • Rub a section of the spoon between two fingers. Friction generates heat, which will soften the spoon. The weight of the spoon will cause it to bend.

The Disappearing Spoon Trick

If you stir a warm or hot cup of liquid with a gallium spoon, the metal melts almost immediately. The spoon "disappears" into a cup of dark liquid or pools visibly at the bottom of a cup of clear liquid. It behaves much like mercury (a metal that is liquid at room temperature), but gallium is safe to handle. I don't recommend drinking the liquid, though. Gallium isn't particularly toxic, but it's not edible.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Gallium Spoon Tricks." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2023, April 5). Gallium Spoon Tricks. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Gallium Spoon Tricks." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).