What is Mercury(Hg)?

Mercury(Hg) is a chemical element. It is the only common metal which is liquid at ordinary temperature and pressure. It is commonly known as quicksilver.

Discovery History of Mercury.

Mercury was found in Egyptian tombs that date from 1500 BC. In November 2014, a large quantities of it were discovered 60 feet below the pyramid known as the “Temple of the Feathered Serpent,” which is an 1800- years old pyramid. The ancient Greeks used it sulfide (Cinnabar) in ointments. Again, the ancient Egyptians and the Romans used it in Cosmetics. Alchemist thought that, it was the first matter from which all matters were formed.


Mercury in the periodic table.

The atomic number(Z) of it in the periodic table is 80. It belongs to group 12 from the period 6.
It’s a d-block element. Its electronic configuration is – [Xe] 4f14 5d106s2

Symbol of mercury.

It expressed by Hg from its Latin name hydragyrum which means liquid silver. It is also known as quicksilver for its mobility.

Description about Mercury.

It exists in two oxidation states. It is the most common oxidation state. Being a soft metal, it forms very stable derivatives with heavier chalcogens. Mercury salts form a variety of complex derivatives with ammonia. It fulminate is a detonator widely used in explosives. It occurs in Earth’s crust on the average of about 0.08 gm per ton of rock. The principal ore is the red sulfide, cinnabar. Over 90% of the worlds’ supply comes from china. Most of the extraction of it depend on the volatility of the metal and the fact that cinnabar is readily decomposed by air or by the lime.

Uses of mercury.

Mercury-metal has many uses. Because of its high density, it is used in thermometers, barometers, sphygmomanometers, float valves, mercury switches, fluorescent lamp and many other devices. It is also used in scientific research applications and in amalgam for dental restoration.

It is also used in fluorescent lighting. Electricity passed through mercury vapor in a fluorescent lamp produces short wave ultra-violet ray, which causes the phosphor in the tube to fluoresce. Industry uses it as a liquid electrode in the manufacture of chlorine and sodium hydroxide by electrolysis of brine. It compound, Calomel is used as a standard in electrochemical measurements and in medicine as a purgative.

Dangerous side of Mercury.

It poisoning can result from exposure to water soluble forms of it, by inhalation of mercury vapor or by ingesting any form of it. It is toxic. Poisoning may result from inhalation of the vapor, ingestion of soluble compounds, or absorption of it through the skin.

Symptoms of mercury poisoning.

The symptoms of it poisoning depend upon the type and duration of exposure. They may include muscle weakness, poor coordination, numbness in the hands and feet, skin rashes, anxiety, memory problems etc. Long term complications may include kidney problems and decreased in memory.

Mercury and the environment.

It occurs uncombined in nature to a limited extent. It rarely occurs free in nature and is found mainly in cinnabar ore. It is a compound that can be found naturally in the environment. It can be found in metal form, as mercury salts or as organic mercury compounds.

Prevention of Mercury.

Though, the prevention of it poisoning is very hard, there are some preventing methods for it poisoning. Prevention includes eating a diet low it, removing it from medical and other devices, proper disposal of it etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

1. What is the chemical symbol of mercury?
Answer: The chemical symbol of mercury is Hg.

2. Why mercury has got the chemical symbol Hg?
Answer: Mercury was named after the Roman god. Its chemical symbol comes from the Greek word hydragyros which means water and silver.

3. What are the uses of mercury?
Answer: Mercury has many uses. Because of its high density, it is used in barometers and manometers. Mercury has a wide use in thermometers for measuring human body temperature and thermal condition.

4. What is the main constituent of mercury?
Answer: Mercury occurs in the deposition of Cinnabar (mercury sulfide) throughout the world.

5. Why mercury is a sensitive chemical?
Answer: Mercury is a very toxic and poisonous substance. When it gets contact or in touch of human body or skin, it can cause many complexities.