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H
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D
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     80    

80 Hg Mercury

Transition metal, mass: 200.59 u, 7 stable isotopes (196, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 204), abundance rank (earth/space): 62/59

Click image to magnify. 6 grams pure mercury. Diameter of the inner disc: 2 cm.
Mercury Mercury
Mercury (latin hydrargyrum = liquid silver) is shiny and silvery and the only metal that is liquid at room temperature. It is known since ancient times, when it was believed to be something magical and a cure. More recently it was and still is used in thermometers and barometers and in amalgams as filling for our teeth. Elemental mercury and many of its compounds are very toxic, so it should be avoided and not be used, if there are alternatives. Where mercury is released, it is a big threat for health and environment.

Mercury in a medical thermometer Cinnabar
Left: mercury in an old medical thermometer. Original size in cm: 0.5 x 3
Right: about 1 cm large pieces of natural cinnabar or cinnabarite, mercury sulfide, HgS. Cinnabar is the most frequent mercury mineral. It is often used for artists' red color (vermilion). Cinnabar is hardly soluble in water and therefore quite safe to handle.

Mercury vapor lamp
Mercury vapor lamp with phosphorescent coating. Glowing mercury gas emitts a bright, bluish light.


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The images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, unless otherwise noted. Attribution by linking (outside of the internet credit with url) to the according element page.



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