What is Mercury?
Mercury is the 80th element on the periodic table. It has 80 protons and has the chemical symbol Hg. Its atomic mass is 200.59 atomic mass units, melts at -30.87 degrees Celcius, and boils at 356.58. Elemental mercury is a silver-white, heavy, mobile, liquid metal at room temperature. It is the only metal on the periodic table that is found as a liquid at room temperature. Properties of mercury are that it contracts or expands evenly when heated or cooled, it remains a liquid over a wide range of temperatures, it does not stick to glass, and its ability to conduct electricity.
Mercury originally got its name from Roman mythology and was named so because it was named after a swift messenger of the gods. In modern days it is known as quicksilver because it can move so quickly and rapdily.
Sources of mercury can be found in the earth's crust but at a less abundant amount than other metals found in rocks. However when a mercury deposit is found, it is often concentrated. Most mercury comes from an ore called cinnabar. With use of refiners, mercury is extracted out of these ores. Mercury is also one of the seven metals of alchemy (gold, silver, mercury, copper, lead, iron, and tin).
Mercury used to be used in
Modern day uses of mercury include:
|Special or Unique Properties of Mercury||
|Only metal that is a liquid at room temperature.||Holds fascination for people of all ages. Special uses in several different cultures.|
|Easily evaporates into the air.||A blob of mercury sitting on the table will eventually disappear. The mercury vapors can be extremely dangerous to breathe.|
|Very dense.||Just a little bit weighs a lot, yet moves around easily. This is useful in certain medical procedures.|
|Good conducter of electricity.||Used in electrical "tilt" switches and other electrical devices.|
|Expands or contracts uniformly with changes in temperature.||Used in thermometers and thermostats.|
|Readily combines with other metals.||Dentists use a combination of mercury and silver, called "amalgam," which is used to fill cavities in teeth.|
|Kills bacteria and fungi.||Previously used in pesticides, paints, and on people to kill germs.|
|Atomic Weight||200.59 atomic mass units|
|Melting Point||-38.87 degrees Celcius|
|Boiling Point||356.58 degrees Celcius|
|Density||13.5336 grams per cubic centimeter|
|Phase at Room Temperature (20 C)||Liquid|