Mercury Picture - A liquid at room temperature
Mercury (symbol: Hg atomic number: 80 )(Planet Mercury) Known to ancient Chinese and Hindus; found in Egyptian tombs of 1500 B.C. Mercury is the only common metal liquid at ordinary temperatures. It only rarely occurs free in nature. It is a heavy, silvery-white metal; a rather poor conductor of heat, as compared with other metals, and a fair conductor of electricity. It easily forms alloys with many metals, such as gold, silver, and tin, which are called amalgams. Its ease in amalgamating with gold is made use of in the recovery of gold from its ores. It has been found that an electrical discharge causes mercury vapor to combine with neon, argon, krypton, and xenon. Mercury is a virulent poison and is readily absorbed through the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, or through unbroken skin. It acts as a cumulative poison and dangerous levels are readily attained in air. Methyl mercury is a dangerous pollutant and is now widely found in water and streams. Other uses are in making pesticides, cercury cells for caustic soda and chlorine production, dental preparations, anti-fouling paint, batteries, and catalysts.
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