Top 10 strangest elements

Currently there are 118 elements that we have discovered and logged on the Periodic table. Elements are strange things, simply adding or removing a single proton from the atom's nucleus of an element completely changes it and essentially makes it a new element. Here's the weirdest elements from the periodic table, that seem to defy the laws of physics. 1. First up, Gallium is a soft metal that's sometimes used in electronics. But it has a unique party trick, it safely melts in human hands, then resolidifies again once it drops below its 30 Celsius melting point. In the early 20th century a popular prank amongst chemists at university was to smelt gallium into utensils then watch as their classmate's knife and fork melted away from their hands as they ate. 2. But if you think a metal becoming a liquid at room temperature is weird, how about a metal being a gas at room temperature. Copernicium is a highly radioactive synthetic metal. It is one of the weirdest and most elusive elements, because of two reasons. Firstly it decays extremely fast, it has an astonishingly short half-life of just 29 seconds, so it doesn't stick around for very long. And secondly it is a gas at room temperature. Both these factors make it extremely difficult for scientists to study, subsequently we still don't know very much about this elusive substance. 3. Curium is an extremely radioactive substance that was named after Marie Curie. Only a few kilograms of curium are produced each year because it doesn't have very many uses. However it was used on a Mars mission in an Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer. But what makes this element so unique is that it's so radioactive, it actually glows in the dark. 4. Next up is Francium, a naturally occurring element named after France, Francium is one of the alkali metals, all of which are extremely volatile. But Francium is the most reactive of all the alkali metals. At it's most stable isotope it has a very short half-life of 22 minutes and is unbelievably rare, it usually pops into existence one atom at a time then disappears almost instantaneously. It is estimated that there are only about 20 grams of Francium on the planet at any one time. Scientists aren't even able to procure a sample of Francium large enough so it's visible to the naked eye, therefore studying it is almost impossible. But we know that when put into water the reaction would be spectacularly dangerous. Considering that the next most reactive alkali metal is Cesium, which explodes when it touches water. However Francium is considerably more volatile than Cesium and just the moisture in the air alone would cause Francium to explode spectacularly. 5. Next up is a group of 8 different elements, all relatively new to the periodic table. They are all manmade, they all have similar names (Ununbium, Ununtrium, Ununquadium, Ununpentium, Ununhexium, Ununseptium, Ununoxium) and were all discovered in the exact same manner. By scientists bombarding atoms of one element with atoms of another element. This separates them into a completely new element, but for only a fraction of a second. The first to be discovered, Ununbium was first created in 1996 in a lab in Germany. None of these elements have been seen for more than a second and their inclusion on the periodic table still remains under investigation. 6. Bismuth is the heaviest non radioactive metal. Actually it is very very slightly radioactive, but it has a half life billions of times longer than the current age of the universe, so for arguments sake, it's fair to say that it's completely stable. Bismuth is used in medicine and cosmetics. But it has a unique attribute, it is diamagnetic. Which means it emits a magnetic field in the opposite direction to any externally applied magnetic field. In layman's terms, if you put a magnet between two lumps of bismuth it will levitate indefinitely. 7. You probably imagine sulphur as a yellow rock, but it can actually change to an array of different colours in different conditions. One of the weirdest such example can be seen if you melt sulphur, it turns from a solid yellow rock to a blood-red liquid. Also just as cool, if you burn sulphur, it produces a neon blue flame. But sulphur has a disgusting side, it's responsible for the odour of rotten eggs, garlic, onions and many other nasty smells. In fact most things that smell bad have some sulphur in there somewhere. 8. Next up is Helium, it's a colourless, odourless, tasteless, inert gas, which means it doesn't react with other elements. Its boiling and melting points are the lowest of any element. At an unimaginably low -272.2 degrees Celsius, Helium turns into a superfluid. Which exhibits a unique property, if you pour helium in its superfluid form into a vessel it seems to defy gravity and creep up the walls of the container and pour over the rim to try and reach a warmer place, where it will eventually evaporate. But by far the thing that makes Helium so damn extraordinary is this. 9. If it wasn't for this next element, you wouldn't be watching this video right now. I am of course talking about silicon, a crucial component in all computer chips and most electronics. It's even got an entire valley named after it in California. It's also responsible for silky white beaches, being the most common component in sand. Oh and don't forget breast implants. It's one of the most common elements on earth, about 27 percent of the earth's crust is made up of silicon. Silicon is a remarkable element because it's largely responsible for the technological revolution of the past 30 years. 10. And finally, it may not be particularly strange, but it is arguably the coolest element. The element I'm talking about is Carbon. It is the most essential element to support life. It is the building block of everything living. DNA, proteins, cells, coal, pencils, diamonds, the air you breath and the food you eat are all made up from carbon, as well as countless other things. Carbon compromises 20% of the weight of all living organisms. To put it simply, if it wasn't for carbon we wouldn't be here, and neither would the universe as we know it, so for that reason alone it deserves some attention.

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