Gallium Induced Structural Failure of an Aluminum Baseball Bat


Greetings fellow nerds. In previous years i’ve applied gallium to various aluminum objects and have destroyed them that way. This year let’s try something a bit more common, a baseball bat. For those of you that don’t know, baseball bats are used to motivate people that owe you money. Most are made from wood but you can buy aluminum ones as well and that’s what i have here. They are necessarily very strong and it is incredibly difficult to damage them with just your own strength. Now before we apply the gallium we’re going to need to file off the surface of our aluminum baseball bat. Primarily we’re doing this to get rid of the paint and we and we want to remove the aluminum oxide layer underneath. Gallium destroys aluminum metal easily but has a difficult time penetrating other materials like paint and aluminum oxide. Now we don’t need to remove all the paint, just enough to ensure the gallium can get at the aluminum underneath. Here we are, one partially filled aluminum bat and i’ve placed it in a glass beaker. Now for the gallium. I’ve previously melted this gallium by keeping the bottle in hot water. Gallium is an interesting metal in that it has a very low melting point, just 29.76 degrees celsius. So with just a little hot water you can have a liquid metal without the dangers of high temperatures. It kinda resembles mercury in how easily it pours. Okay so we have our bat immersed in gallium. I’ve turned on the hotplate to about 70 celsius to keep the gallium molten while it diffuses into the aluminum. This will take some time so i’m going to come back in a couple of days or so. And here we are. Let me get it out of there. Looks like we still have a lot of gallium left. Let me set that aside. And here is the baseball bat. We can see the overall structure is still intact but there is some deep cracks and holes right through. Okay, let’s see just how strong it still is. That was a lot easier than i expected it to be. I’m not from the planet Krypton, i’m just from Canada. So what’s happening? The gallium metal is diffusing in between the grain boundaries of the aluminum microcrystals and disrupts their bonding. Being unable to bond together the aluminum is rendered extremely weak. Some of the aluminum also dissolves into the gallium to form an alloy. Some people say it’s an amalgam but that’s a misnomer. Amalgams are mercury based alloys. Just like steels are normally iron based alloys. While some specific gallium alloys have specific names like galinstan, as a class, gallium alloys don’t have a special name and they’re just called alloys, they’re not amalgams. Interestingly enough, the structural damage induced by the gallium is going pretty far through the baseball bat. The gallium soaked through the metal like water soaking through tissue paper. I don’t know about you, but it’s amazing to me to have something as solid as a metal bat behave like it was porous. Ok now as i keep breaking the aluminum to the handle, it’s getting stronger and stronger. Looks like i didn’t leave it long enough for the gallium to diffuse all the way through. On a side note, don’t worry about my glove tearing. Gallium is non-toxic to skin, i just wear gloves to minimize on the mess. Okay, looks like this about the limit for the damage. Anyway, so this is what’s left of the aluminum baseball bat. This pile of very weak aluminum infused with gallium. So there you have it, gallium induced structural failure of an aluminum baseball bat. Thanks for watching. Special thank you to all of my supporters on patreon for making these science videos possible with their donations and their direction. If you are not currently a patron, but like to support the continued production of science videos like this one, then check out my patreon page here or in the video description. I really appreciate any and all support.

91 thoughts on “Gallium Induced Structural Failure of an Aluminum Baseball Bat

  1. Would you consider making a series of (rather simple) experiments with organic ammonium salts. When these salts are heated, various amines and nitriles are produced. I'd like to learnmore about that

  2. there's any applications for this kind of effect? Like, making gallium based AA ammunition to indude structural failures on aluminum airplanes?

  3. @NurdRage I was wondering if the loss of strength further towards the handle end of the bat is in part or majority due to the loss of structural strength due to the disruption of the shell structure. Thoughts?

  4. Hey man! I've been watching you for a LONG time. I haven't in a long while, so I lever said this: I'm glad you changing labs didn't mess with your channel. I may not have learned much, but you sparked an interest in me for chemical science. You're the reason I passed my science class. Anyway thanks and I'm glad you're still here.

  5. Could you list some sources on how long to have the bat/coce can in the gallium, if there are any risks/things to worry about? my science teacher is willing to perform this experiment, but he wants to confirm the things you say.

  6. Please do this to an old tower computer, scratch it up heavily and put on plenty of gallium especially on the structural parts of the case and then drop it from quite a height.

  7. I just love saying things like "Gallium Induced Structural Failure of an Aluminum Baseball Bat" To people in an argument.

  8. wonder if you could do an experiment where you determine the area of effect of a particular amount of gallium. like if you were to place half or quarter ounce of gallium in the center of an aluminum sheet to see how far it would spread

  9. I would love to see a slow motion of a weakened baseball bat hitting a thrown baseball. I bet the shatter would look amazing

  10. So if you ground it up real fine in a coffee grinder or something, could it still be used in a thermite reaction?

    Nevermind, just saw the other video lol

  11. If you get the gallium infused aluminum and smelt it, will that boil away the gallium, and leave you with regular aluminum?

  12. See that's why I like you. I bet you could win a bar fight… Have a friend hit you with that bat and I think everyone would stop fighting and run

  13. is it possible to grow single crystals of aluminum at this scale (however ridiculously expensive) that resists such failure?

  14. drill a hole in an aluminium baseball bat then fill the entire bat with galium then attempt to use the bat to hit something
    it would be pretty cool to watch

  15. i think a gallium infused baseball bat would be more effective in motivating someone who owes you money
    (would you argue with someone who can break an aluminium baseball bat by hitting something with it)

  16. lol cool,

    so if you want to kissing a baseballplayer just inject some gallium into his alluminium baseballbat over some days …. and then if he plays …. just puff and its gone 😀 har har

  17. I think you try to say that the polarity is reversed after a period of exposure. That is why it's getting weak, it's kind of blocking or prevent the molecules from binding together, something like that, sorry my english is still in progress, cool video 🙂

  18. You should make one of those and hit a home run with it the record it in slow mo might a get a few veiws

  19. When someone says that 2 or more elements together is an "amalgam", they can be using the common definition, rather than the chemistry based definition, as the normal definition is simply "A mixture or blend" of literally anything.

  20. Drill a hole in the top and put it in. Drain it out and then switch it out with one being used at a local Game….see what happens. Corked aluminum bat lol

  21. Please tell me which chemicals can destroy iron metal like galium destroy aluminum metal? Thank you

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