Symbol Ge. A lustrous hard metalloid element belonging to group 14 (formerly IVB) of the periodic table; a.n. 32; r.a.m. 72.59; r.d. 5.36; m.p. 937°C; b.p. 2830°C. It is found in zinc sulphide and in certain other sulphide ores, and is mainly obtained as a by-product of zinc smelting. It is also present in some coal (up to 1.6%). Small amounts are used in specialized alloys but the main use depends on its semiconductor properties. Chemically, it forms compounds in the +2 and +4 oxidation states, the germanium(IV) compounds being the more stable. The element also forms a large number of organometallic compounds. Predicted in 1871 by Mendeleev (eka-silicon), it was discovered by Winkler in 1886.
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