Why are so few elements liquid at room temperature?


Many elements are gas or solids at room temperature, but only mercury and bromine are liquid. Why?

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Because temperatures where they would be liquids are unsuitable for the evolution of life and “room temperature” is a label humans invented based on what is comfortable for us our and our survival. There is nothing objectively special about it.

And gallium if it’s a warm room, m. pt. 29.8 °C

There’s only a handful of gaseous ones too, H, He, N, O, F, Cl , Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe, Rn. The vast majority of elements are solid at 20 °C

“room temperature” is a very narrow band of temperature across a spectrum of naturally occuring temps going from minus 273 Celcius all the way to hudnreds of millions of degrees. If many were liquid between 20 and 40C, it would be such a statistical anomaly that we’d have to investigate as to why.

Well, first off, you need more than temperature – you need pressure, too. The phase of a material depends on both.

It just so happens that humans live in a relatively high-pressure, relatively low-temperature environment, which tends to make things solid. Only pretty light molecules tend to be liquid or gaseous under human conditions.

Put another way: we, and all other life, live near the range of temperatures and pressures of liquid water. Liquid water is much lighter than most molecules or elements. So you’d expect most things to be solid. (Actually, water is so light you’d expect it to be a gas, but the strong bonds between water molecules help keep it liquid. Water’s weird.)

Gasses our bound by high temperatures and solids are bound by close to absolute zero. Pressure is also a key player as many gases are liquid at high pressures. usually super cold too.

t’s because our room temperature is such a small range and so is the pressure. Given that the average melting point for elements is 2937 degrees Fahrenheit it makes sense that there aren’t that many liquids at room temperature.

Further more Gases need something to bond to to become liquids. that why we have water, and hydrogen peroxide. Solids can also bond to gasses to increase their melting point.

If you go higher on the periodic table you’ll have more protons neutrons and electrons which make them heavier and less likely to be a liquid