Element 49 in our International Year of the Periodic Table series is indium. Indium makes the touch screens in our electronic devices possible, and is also found in emergency sprinklers and Formula 1 cars.
If you’re reading this on a phone or tablet with a touchscreen, the device you’re using contains indium in the form of indium tin oxide. This compound is a vital component of the touchscreen, used in a transparent film that conducts electricity. 45% of all indium extracted has a use involving indium tin oxide.
Indium is also used to coat the ball bearings in Formula 1 cars due to its low friction. Alloys of indium with low melting points are used in shop and warehouse fire sprinkler systems.
Remember, you can keep track of all of the previous entries in this series on the site here, or on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s dedicated page.