Does Gallium Conduct Electricity? A Comprehensive Guide

Gallium is a unique metal that exhibits the ability to conduct electricity, which is one of its most notable properties. This liquid metal, with a melting point of just 29.76 degrees Celsius, can be used to create flexible and bendable electronic devices due to its ability to conduct electricity.

Understanding Gallium’s Electrical Conductivity

Gallium is a post-transition metal with the atomic number 31 and the symbol Ga. It has a unique electronic configuration, with a partially filled 4p orbital, which contributes to its exceptional electrical conductivity. The electrical conductivity of gallium is primarily due to the presence of delocalized valence electrons, which can move freely within the material, allowing for the flow of electric current.

Electrical Conductivity Measurements

Researchers have conducted extensive studies to measure the electrical conductivity of gallium. One such study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, measured the quantized conductance of gallium as a function of temperature. The researchers found that the electrical conductance of gallium exhibits a step-like behavior, with discrete conductance values corresponding to the number of conduction channels in the material.

The electrical conductivity of gallium can be expressed using the following formula:

σ = ne^2τ/m*

σ is the electrical conductivity
n is the number of charge carriers (electrons or holes)
e is the elementary charge
τ is the relaxation time
m* is the effective mass of the charge carriers

The measured values of electrical conductivity for gallium at room temperature (25°C) range from 3.8 × 10^6 to 3.9 × 10^6 Siemens per meter (S/m).

Temperature Dependence of Electrical Conductivity

The electrical conductivity of gallium is highly dependent on temperature. As the temperature increases, the electrical conductivity of gallium decreases due to increased scattering of charge carriers by lattice vibrations (phonons). This relationship can be described by the following equation:

σ = σ₀ * exp(-Ea/kBT)

σ is the electrical conductivity
σ₀ is the pre-exponential factor
Ea is the activation energy
kB is the Boltzmann constant
T is the absolute temperature

Experimental data shows that the electrical conductivity of gallium decreases from 3.9 × 10^6 S/m at 0°C to 3.6 × 10^6 S/m at 100°C, demonstrating the inverse relationship between temperature and electrical conductivity.

Applications of Gallium’s Electrical Conductivity

does gallium conduct electricity

The unique electrical properties of gallium have led to a wide range of applications in the field of electronics and flexible devices.

Flexible and Bendable Electronics

One of the primary applications of gallium’s electrical conductivity is in the creation of flexible and bendable electronic devices. Researchers from North Carolina State University have demonstrated the ability to create thin wires and circuits made from gallium, which can be embedded between rubber or plastic sheets. These bendable circuits can be stretched, twisted, or bent with little to no damage, making them ideal for use in wearable and flexible electronics.

Example: Gallium-Based Wearable Sensors

Gallium’s ability to conduct electricity and its flexibility have led to the development of wearable sensors that can be directly printed or applied to the skin like a temporary tattoo. These sensors can be used to monitor various physiological parameters, such as heart rate, brain activity, and muscle movements, by measuring changes in the electrical resistance of the gallium-based “ink.”

Self-Healing Circuits

Another remarkable property of gallium is its ability to self-heal when a circuit is torn. When the edges of a torn gallium circuit are positioned against each other, the liquid metal can flow back together, allowing the circuit to repair itself. This property is particularly useful for creating durable and long-lasting electronic devices that can withstand wear and tear.

Liquid Metal Wires and Circuits

Gallium can be used to create liquid metal wires and circuits that can withstand significant bending or twisting. These wires can stretch up to eight times their original length without breaking, making them suitable for use in earbud wires or other flexible electronic devices.

Motion Sensing Applications

The electrical conductivity of gallium can also be used to measure how the material is being twisted, stretched, or pressed on. By running a small current through a mesh of gallium wires, researchers can measure the changes in resistance, allowing them to detect the material’s movements and impart that information into a virtual world, such as for motion-sensing gloves in virtual reality applications.


Gallium is a unique metal that exhibits exceptional electrical conductivity, making it an ideal material for a wide range of flexible and bendable electronic applications. From creating self-healing circuits to developing wearable sensors and motion-sensing devices, the unique properties of gallium have the potential to transform the field of soft electronics and pave the way for a new generation of flexible and adaptable technologies.


  1. Phase transition science and engineering of gallium-based liquid metal. Cell Reports Physical Science, 2022.
  2. This Liquid Metal Could Transform Soft Electronics. Smithsonian Magazine, 2022.
  3. Measurements of quantized conductance in gallium as a function of temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021.
  4. Gallium: The liquid metal that could transform soft electronics. Knowable Magazine, 2022.
  5. Thermoelectricity at a gallium-mercury liquid metal interface. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2023.