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Mercury Properties

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Definition of Mercury
What is the definition of Mercury? It is a silver white poisonous metallic element with a mirror-like appearance. It is a liquid at room temperature and used in thermometers, barometers, vapor lamps, and batteries and in chemical pesticides. The Physical and Chemical Properties are the characteristics of a substance, like Mercury, which distinguishes it from any other substance.  Most common substances, like Mercury, exist as States of Matter as solids, liquids, gases and plasma. Refer to the article on Mercury Element for additional information and facts about this substance.

Mercury Properties - What are the Physical Properties of Mercury?
What are the Physical Properties of Mercury? The Physical properties of Mercury are the characteristics that can be observed without changing the substance into another substance.

Physical properties are usually those that can be observed using our senses such as color, luster, freezing point, boiling point, melting point, density, hardness and odor. The Physical Properties of Mercury are as follows:

  • Color : Silver-White mirror-like appearance
  • Luster : Mirror like
  • Conductivity : Good transmission of heat or electricity
  • Surface Tension : High surface tension. When mercury is spilled, it breaks up into tiny beads which often become lodged in cracks
  • Density : High Density

Mercury Properties - What are the Chemical Properties of Mercury?
What are the Chemical Properties of Mercury? They are the characteristics that determine how it will react with other substances or change from one substance to another. The better we know the nature of the substance the better we are able to understand it. Chemical properties are only observable during a chemical reaction. Reactions to substances may be brought about by changes brought about by burning, rusting, heating, exploding, tarnishing etc. The Chemical Properties of Mercury are as follows:

  • Chemical Formula : Hg
  • Toxicity : Highly toxic
  • Reactivity with acids : Reacts with some acids when they are hot, but does not react with most cold acids
  • Oxidation  : Does not readily react with oxygen in the air
  • Compounds : Many of mercury's compounds are pigments, pesticides and medicines. Vermilion, a vivid red pigment is a chemical compound of mercury and sulfur and is known as red sulfide of mercury. Mercuric chloride HgCl2, is used as an insecticide, in rat poison
  • Amalgam : Mercury forms a special type of alloy called an amalgam which is an alloy containing mercury. An amalgam of mercury, silver and tin is used in dentistry for filling teeth.
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