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Element Germanium, Ge, Metalloid

History of Germanium

In 1871, Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev predicted to exist as a missing analogue of the silicon group (Mendeleev called it "ekasilicon"). The existence of this element was proven by discovery of a rich silver ore of unusual appearance in the summer of 1885, which was found at Himmelsfurst Fundgrube near Freiberg. A. Weisbach recognized it as a new mineral species and called it "argyrodite"., from the Greek words that loosely translate into "rich in silver". He asked Clemens Alexander Winkler, professor of Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, to analyze it and to his surprise the results of his analysis consistently came out too low. He discovered that this was due to the presence of a new element, which, after several months' search, he isolated. At first he supposed to call the new-discovered element "neptunium", reminding the history of the planet discovery, the existence of which was at first predicted by Urbain Le Verrier and only later Neptune was actually discovered by Adams. However, the name "neptunium" had been already given to a false-discovered element, so Winkler named the new element "germanium" after his fatherland. The properties of germanium matched those of the eka-silicon whose existence had been predicted in 1871 by Dmitri Mendeleev.

Occurrence of Germanium

Germanium's crustal abundance is 7×10-4% by mass, more than that of Antimony, Silver and Bismuth. However germanium's ores are very rare, this element is found in germanite Cu2(Cu, Fe, Ge, Zn)2(S, As)4, argyrodite (sulfide of germanium and silver Ag8GeS6 canfieldite Ag8(Sn, Ge)S6 and other minerals. Germanium is wide-spread in the Earth's crust as a constituent part of many rocks, such sulphide ores of metals, in iron ores, some oxide minerals (in chromite, magnetite, rutile, etc.), also in granites, diabases and basalts, in all silicate and some coals.


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