Exotech Buys and Sells Germanium
Germanium is part of a list of rare earth metals. These metals are classified rare because of the small quantities that exist or can be produced. Although its supply is limited, it is highly in demand due to its long list of applications and uses.
Where Germanium Is Used
Germanium was discovered years after other elements. Its unique properties, however, make it much more valuable than other metals that were being used at this time.
This metal is hard and gray-white, and at the same time, semi-metallic and brittle. Like water, it expands when frozen, which is quite unusual for a metal. Its most important quality though it that it is a semiconductor, and therefore is used widely in circuits and transistors.
It can be used pure or as a compound. These are used at the present in fiber-optic networks and infrared optics. Germanium oxide can be added to glass, which affects its index of refraction. This is why this metal is used even in the production of wide-angle lenses and infrared devices.
In fact, there are many Germanium compounds that exist, expanding its list of uses at the same time. It is then not surprising to realize how much this element is a part of the modern daily life. Any house that is connected to the Internet or uses LED lighting is benefitting from this very rare metal. This is the reason why demand for Germanium can only be seen as increasing. Another point is that a substitute element which can perform in the same way does not exist at this time.
The Limited Supply of Germanium
Of the other metals in its group like tin or lead, it is much less abundant and finding germanium ores are almost impossible. To produce it, it has to be manufactured from other metals like zinc. Most of the production comes from Asia but even then supply is very limited.
The Importance of Recycling Germanium
Because of its wide use and huge popularity, the demand for Germanium is always high. With supplies, on the other hand, low, there is a huge need for recycling it.
The growth of Germanium recycling has been successful so that up to one-third of supply comes from recycled sources, both from end-of-life products and scraps or by-products. Recycling centers are continuously finding ways to extract this valuable metal from scraps. Surprisingly, even windows can be a source of Germanium.
Still, the process of recycling can be tedious and dangerous because of other metals that might be found in scraps. Handling these require special expertise and equipment but because of the high need for Germanium, recycling centers work hard to extract them for future use.
With demand high and supply limited, it is not surprising that the price of Germanium is rising. The effort to find recyclable sources of Germanium is therefore worth it, as well as the effort of reproducing it from scrap. By turning to the experts in handling these rare and special metals, not only is it possible to obtain Germanium, but there is also much less risk of melt loss during the refining process. If you are interested in buying or selling Germanium, you can find out more information here.