What is mercury powder

Name, symbol, atomic number Mercury, Hg, 80
seriesTransition metals
Group, period, block12, 6, d
Look silvery white
Mass fraction of the earth's envelope 4 · 10−5 %
Atomic mass 200.59 u
Atomic radius (calculated) 150 (171) pm
Covalent radius 149 pm
Van der Waals radius 155 pm
Electron configuration [Xe] 4f145d106s2
Electrons per energy level 2, 8, 18, 32, 18, 2
Work function 4.5 eV
1. Ionization energy 1007.1 kJ / mol
2. Ionization energy 1810 kJ / mol
Physical state liquid
Crystal structure rhombohedral
density 13.546 g / cm3 at 293.15 K.
Thermal expansion coefficient (Volume) 182 ppm / K
Mohs hardness not applicable
Melting point 234.32 K (−38.83 ° C)
boiling point 629.88 K (356.73 ° C)
Molar volume 14,09 · 10−6 m3/ mol
Heat of evaporation 59.229 kJ / mol
Heat of fusion 2.295 kJ / mol
Vapor pressure

0.0002 Pa at 234 K.

Speed ​​of sound 1407 m / s at 293.15 K.
Specific heat capacity 140 J / (kg K)
Electric conductivity 1,04 · 106S / m
Oxidation states 1, 2
Oxides (basicity) Ed2O, HgO (slightly basic)
Normal potential 0.851 V (ed2+ + 2e → Hg)
Electronegativity 2.00 (Pauling scale)
isotopeNHt1/2ZMZE MeVZP


4.85 hε0,700192Au


3.80 hε2,340193Au


444 aε0,040194Au


9.9 hε1,510195Au

0,15 %



64.14 hε0,600197Au

9,97 %


16,87 %


23,1 %


13,18 %


29,86 %



46,612 dβ0,462203Tl

6,87 %



5.2 minβ1,531205Tl


8.15 minβ1,308206Tl
NMR properties
  Spinγ in
rad · T−1· S−1
E. fL. at
W = 4.7 T
in MHz
199Ed 1/2 4,769 · 107 0,00567 35,7
201Ed−3/2 1,765 · 1070,00144 13,2
safety instructions
Hazardous substance labeling
from RL 67/548 / EEC, Appendix I.
R and S phrases R: 23-33-50 / 53
S: (1/2) 7-45-60-61
As far as possible and customary, SI units are used.
Unless otherwise noted, the data given apply to standard conditions.

mercury (gr., lat. hydrargyrum, Name given by Dioskurides) is a chemical element in the periodic table of the elements with the symbol Hg and the atomic number 80. It is the only metal and, besides bromine, the only element that is liquid under normal conditions. Due to its high surface tension, mercury does not wet its substrate, but rather forms lenticular drops because of its strong cohesion. Like any other metal, it is electrically conductive.

Mercury originally means living silver (Old High German quecsilbar too Germanic kwikw "(Quick) alive"). The word hydrargyrum is made up of the Greek words hydor "Water and argyros "Silver" and the Latin suffix -around. The expression is therefore Latinized Greek and can be translated as "liquid silver".


Mercury has been known since prehistoric times. It is already mentioned in the works of Aristotle, Pliny the Elder and other writers of antiquity. In ancient times it was called Remedies used (unfortunately with the corresponding consequences).

The Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovered the phenomenon of superconductivity in mercury for the first time in 1911.[1] The electrical resistance disappears completely from a temperature of 4.2 Kelvin (−268.9 degrees Celsius).


There are mercury deposits in Serbia, Italy, China, Algeria, Russia and Spain, among others. It is mostly found as a mineral in the form of cinnabar (HgS) in areas with former volcanic activity. Mercury is also less common than normal. The Spanish town of Almadén has the largest cinnabar deposits on earth. Production ended in 2000 and the mines turned into tourist attractions.

Extraction and presentation

Pure mercury is obtained by letting the mercury ore cinnabar (HgS) react with oxygen (Roasting process).



Mercury is a silver-white, liquid heavy metal. It is sometimes still counted among the precious metals, but is much more reactive than the classic precious metals (for example platinum, gold), which are in the same period. It forms alloys with many metals, the so-called amalgams. Mercury is a poor conductor of electricity and evaporates at room temperature.

Mercury is about 13.5 times as dense as water, so that, according to Archimedes' principle, its carrying capacity is also 13.5 times as high, so an iron cube also floats (density about 7.87 times as high as that of water) in mercury.

Physical state

The answer to the question of why mercury is liquid can be found in the consideration of the bond between the mercury atoms. Mercury has a unique electron configuration that does not allow a stable bond between the individual atoms. The atoms of all other metals that are solid at room temperature are electrostatically held together by what is known as electron gas, which consists of delocalized electrons from the outer shell of the atoms. The metal bond comes about through so-called ribbons, which contain all electrons of one energy level. Such ribbons are needed to fulfill the Pauli principle. In a metallic bond, electrons jump from the valence band, the energetically highest band that is fully occupied by electrons, into the conduction band, the not completely filled band, and back. This interaction holds the atoms together. As an element of the 12th group of the