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So it turns out, happily, that the mercury beating heart demo I wrote about a couple days ago can also be done with molten gallium, which is vastly less toxic than mercury and requires only slightly higher temperatures. The chemists at the University of Nottingham who produce The Periodic Table of Videos made this very informative footage demonstrating the process, which is slightly different from the mercury beating heart demo in that there is no iron nail present. The gallium blob “beats” anyway, but much slower than the mercury with the nail. I bet using a nail would make the gallium version beat just as fast. [Thanks Filip!]

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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