February 14

Element Discovery Assignment

I chose 32, the element is Germanium, its symbol is Ge. The # of protons : 32.  The # of neutrons : 41. The mass of Ge is 72.6.Under standard conditions, Germanium is a hard but brittle, silvery-white, semi-metallic element, in the carbon group. It is very similar to tin and silicon. Like silicon, germanium naturally reacts and forms complexes with oxygen in nature. Unlike silicon, it is too reactive to be found naturally on Earth in the free (native) state.


Here is a picture of Ge.

in 1869, the Russian chemist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev predicted the existence of several unknown chemical elements, including one that would fill a gap in the carbon family in his Periodic Table of the Elements, located between silicon and tin. So many years later, in 1886, Clemens Winkler found the new element. Because very few minerals contain it in high concentration, germanium was discovered comparatively late in the history of chemistry.

Germanium is a semiconductor. The pure element was commonly doped with arsenic, gallium or other elements and used as a transistor in thousands of electronic applications. The physical characteristics of germania (GeO2) are its high index of refraction and its low optical dispersion. These make it especially useful for wide-angle camera lenses, microscopy, and for the core part of optical fibers. Because germanium is transparent in the infrared it is a very important infrared optical material, that can be readily cut and polished into lenses and windows. And it also can use into phosphors, metallurgy, and chemotherapy.

  • Interesting or unique fact about this element.

Elemental germanium oxidizes slowly to GeO2 at 250 °C.

Two oxides of germanium are known: germanium dioxide (GeO2, germania) and germanium monoxide, (GeO). The dioxide, GeO2 can be obtained by roasting germanium disulfide (GeS2), and is a white powder that is only slightly soluble in water but reacts with alkalis to form germinates. The monoxide, germanous oxide, can be obtained by the high temperature reaction of GeO2 with Ge metal. The dioxide (and the related oxides and germanates) exhibits the unusual property of having a high refractive index for visible light, but transparency to infrared light.