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From practical view, low melting alloys can be divided up into:
- Mercury-containing alloys
- Only alkali metal-containing alloys
- Gallium-containing alloys (but neither alkali metal nor mercury)
- Only bismuth, lead, tin, cadmium, zinc, indium and sometimes thallium-containing alloys
- Other alloys (rarely used)
Melted fusible alloys can be used as coolants as they are stable under heating and can give much higher thermal conductivity than most other coolants; particularly with alloys made with a high thermal conductivity metal such as indium or sodium. Metals with low neutron cross-section are used for cooling nuclear reactors.
Such alloys are used for making the fusible plugs inserted in the furnace crowns of steam boilers, as a safeguard in the event of the water level being allowed to fall too low. When this happens the plug, being no longer covered with water, is heated to such a temperature that it melts and allows the contents of the boiler to escape into the furnace. In automatic fire sprinklers the orifices of each sprinkler is closed with a plug that is held in place by fusible metal, which melts and liberates the water when, owing to an outbreak of fire in the room, the temperature rises above a predetermined limit.
Low melting alloys and metallic elements
|Composition in weight-percent||°C||eutectic?||Name or remark|
|Cs 73.71, K 22.14, Na 4.14 ||−78.2||yes|
|Hg 91.5, Tl 8.5||−58||yes||used in low readings thermometers|
|Cs 77.0, K 23.0||−37.5|
|Ga 68.5, In 21.5, Sn 10||−19||no||Galinstan|
|K 76.7, Na 23.3||−12.7||yes|
|K 78.0, Na 22.0||−11||no||NaK|
|Ga 61, In 25, Sn 13, Zn 1||8.5||yes|
|Ga 62.5, In 21.5, Sn 16.0||10.7||yes|
|Ga 69.8, In 17.6, Sn 12.5||10.8||no|
|Ga 75.5, In 24.5||15.7||yes|
|Bi 40.3, Pb 22.2, In 17.2, Sn 10.7, Cd 8.1, Tl 1.1||41.5||yes|
|Bi 40.63, Pb 22.1, In 18.1, Sn 10.65, Cd 8.2||46.5|
|Bi 49, Pb 18, In 21, Sn 12||58||ChipQuik desoldering alloy|
|Bi 32.5, In 51.0, Sn 16.5||60.5||yes||Field's metal|
|Bi 49.5, Pb 27.3, Sn 13.1, Cd 10.1||70.9||yes||Lipowitz's alloy|
|Bi 50.0, Pb 25.0, Sn 12.5, Cd 12.5||71||no||Wood's metal|
|In 66.3, Bi 33.7||72||yes|
|Bi 50, Pb 30, Sn 20, Impurities||92||no||Onions' Fusible Alloy|
|Bi 52.5, Pb 32.0, Sn 15.5||95||yes|
|Bi 50.0, Pb 31.2, Sn 18.8||97||no||Newton's metal|
|Bi 50.0, Pb 28.0, Sn 22.0||94–98||no||Rose's metal|
|Bi 56.5, Pb 43.5||125||yes|
|Bi 57, Sn 43||139||yes|
|Sn 62.3, Pb 37.7||183||yes|
|Sn 63.0, Pb 37.0||183||no||Eutectic solder|
|Sn 91.0, Zn 9.0||198||yes|
|Sn 92.0, Zn 8.0||199||no||Tin foil|
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Fusible Metal". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Oshe, Ed. R.W., "Handbook of Thermodynamic and Transport Properties of Alkali Metals", Oxford. UK, Blackwell Scientific Publications Ltd, 1985, p. 987
- Johnson Manufacturing Co, MSDS for Chip Quik Alloy w/Lead. Retrieved on February 6, 2015.
- Jenson, W.B. "Ask the Historian - Onion's fusible alloy", J. Chem. Ed., 2010, 87, 1050-1051.
- See phase diagram for the tin-bismuth binary system here: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/engr322/Homework/AllHomework/S12/ENGR322HW4.html
- "ASTM B774—Standard Specification for Low Melting Point Alloys". ASTM International. 1900. doi:10.1520/B0774.
- Weast, R.C., "CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics", 55th ed, CRC Press, Cleveland, 1974, p. F-22
- Fusible (Low Temp) Alloys
- Fusible Alloys. Archived from the original on 2012-10-12.
- Jenson, W.B. "Ask the Historian - Onion's fusible alloy"