<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Mercury is very different from zinc and cadmium. Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at 25 °C. Many metals dissolve in mercury, forming solutions called amalgams (see the feature on Amalgams), which are alloys of mercury with one or more other metals. Mercury, shown in [link] , is a nonreactive element that is more difficult to oxidize than hydrogen. Thus, it does not displace hydrogen from acids; however, it will react with strong oxidizing acids, such as nitric acid:

Hg ( l ) + HCl ( a q ) no reaction
3Hg ( l ) + 8HNO 3 ( a q ) 3Hg ( NO 3 ) 2 ( a q ) + 4H 2 O ( l ) + 2NO ( g )

The clear NO initially formed quickly undergoes further oxidation to the reddish brown NO 2 .

Three test tubes are shown in a photo. The left tube contains a metallic liquid. The middle tube contains a metallic liquid under a layer of clear, colorless liquid. The third tube contains a whitish solid under a layer of yellowish liquid.
From left to right: Hg( l ), Hg + concentrated HCl, Hg + concentrated HNO 3 . (credit: Sahar Atwa)

Most mercury compounds decompose when heated. Most mercury compounds contain mercury with a 2+-oxidation state. When there is a large excess of mercury, it is possible to form compounds containing the Hg 2 2+ ion. All mercury compounds are toxic, and it is necessary to exercise great care in their synthesis.


An amalgam is an alloy of mercury with one or more other metals. This is similar to considering steel to be an alloy of iron with other metals. Most metals will form an amalgam with mercury, with the main exceptions being iron, platinum, tungsten, and tantalum.

Due to toxicity issues with mercury, there has been a significant decrease in the use of amalgams. Historically, amalgams were important in electrolytic cells and in the extraction of gold. Amalgams of the alkali metals still find use because they are strong reducing agents and easier to handle than the pure alkali metals.

Prospectors had a problem when they found finely divided gold. They learned that adding mercury to their pans collected the gold into the mercury to form an amalgam for easier collection. Unfortunately, losses of small amounts of mercury over the years left many streams in California polluted with mercury.

Dentists use amalgams containing silver and other metals to fill cavities. There are several reasons to use an amalgam including low cost, ease of manipulation, and longevity compared to alternate materials. Dental amalgams are approximately 50% mercury by weight, which, in recent years, has become a concern due to the toxicity of mercury.

After reviewing the best available data, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers amalgam-based fillings to be safe for adults and children over six years of age. Even with multiple fillings, the mercury levels in the patients remain far below the lowest levels associated with harm. Clinical studies have found no link between dental amalgams and health problems. Health issues may not be the same in cases of children under six or pregnant women. The FDA conclusions are in line with the opinions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The only health consideration noted is that some people are allergic to the amalgam or one of its components.

Group 13

Group 13 contains the metalloid boron and the metals aluminum, gallium, indium, and thallium. The lightest element, boron, is semiconducting, and its binary compounds tend to be covalent and not ionic. The remaining elements of the group are metals, but their oxides and hydroxides change characters. The oxides and hydroxides of aluminum and gallium exhibit both acidic and basic behaviors. A substance, such as these two, that will react with both acids and bases is amphoteric. This characteristic illustrates the combination of nonmetallic and metallic behaviors of these two elements. Indium and thallium oxides and hydroxides exhibit only basic behavior, in accordance with the clearly metallic character of these two elements. The melting point of gallium is unusually low (about 30 °C) and will melt in your hand.

Questions & Answers

hydrogen is a monovalent why aluminum is a divalent
Naldo Reply
Did you mean trivalent? This is because Aluminium has three electroms orbiting in the valence (furthest shell) which are involved in covalent bonding where each electron becomes a pair with another one in the other non metal and make a single bond. N. B: each single covalent bond contains 2 electr
Electrons, one from each atom. Did you know that god said '' And, [O Muhammad], you are not [engaged] in any matter or recite any of the Qur'an and you [people] do not do any deed except that We are witness over you when you are involved in it. And not absent from your Lord is any [part] of an atom
... atom's weight within the earth or within the heaven or [anything] smaller than that or greater but that it is in a clear register. ''
wat gives perfume it's sweet smell
Olaobaju Reply
These are organic compounds, which have plentiful functional groups which react with certain substances through a pathway in the cells lining nostrils which sends impulses that make you sense its sweet. Did you prophet Muhammad (peace upon him) encourages the use of perfume.
what is it use for
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to love cleanliness and good scent. ... It was highlighted, in many hadiths, his love for fragrance and good scent like musk, 'ud and ambergris.
the types of giant covalent structure
Nobert Reply
define the following terms. electrovalent bonding
 An unknown noble gas was allowed to flow into a 300.0 mL glass bulb until the P = 685 torr. Initially, the glass bulb weighed 32.50 g, but now it weighs 33.94 g. If the temperature is 27.0 °C, what’s the identity of the gas?
Roseline Reply
* Use PV=nRT with correct units to find n (number of moles) * Use n = mass/ Ar (Ar is relative atomic mass) Ar = 131.15 -> Xenon N. B: P is in pascals, V in m3, n in mol, R in J/ k. Mol, T in kelvin *Thank God
N. B: As it is a noble gas it is mono-atomic so the Ar does not need to be divided by two (not diatomic).
what is molecule
Olom Reply
molecules are produced by double atom from example this is hydrogen atom and this is hydrogen2 are call that hydrogen molecules or gass
What is the generic name for the compound
Orisanmi Reply
what is the formular for methane
Tamaranimiweremi Reply
CH4 , it is the simplest alkane
what is the formula for alkaline
I wish to learn to more of chemistry, can someone please teach me.
what is zero gravity
Blessing Reply
every object is that zero gravity
Probably when an object is in space and there are no nearby masses that pull her, and exert gravity
Alright. .good job
And all majesty to God, (وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِی خَلَقَ ٱلَّیۡلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ وَٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَۖ كُلࣱّ فِی فَلَكࣲ یَسۡبَحُونَ) [سورة الأنبياء 33 And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming. General theory of relativity in Qur
what is molecule?
what is lattice energy
Getrude Reply
why is CO a neutral oxide and CO2 an acidic oxide
Emmanuel Reply
Because when CO2 dissolves in water forming a weak acid. CO does not dissolve in water as it has strong triple bond.
What is acid
Progress Reply
which donate H+ or accept lone pair of electron
kinetic theory of matter and gas law
Victoria Reply
pls explain
what is clay
Thankgod Reply
material containing clay minerals. Clays develop plasticity when wet, due to a molecular film of water surrounding the clay particles, but become hard, brittle and non–plastic upon drying or firing. Most pure clay minerals are white or light-coloured, but natural clays show a variety of colours
due iron oxide. The four types of clay are Earthenware clay, Stoneware clay, Ball clay, and Porcelain. All of them can be used to make pottery, but the end result would differ a lot thanks to their different textures, colors, and flexibilities.
And do you know that god has created human from clay (وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ مِن صَلۡصَـٰلࣲ مِّنۡ حَمَإࣲ مَّسۡنُونࣲ) [سورة الحجر 26] And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud. You can install Quran from paly store for free with translations.
darw a periodic table
Hazard Reply
draw a periodic table
You will arrange the elements into row and coloumns according to increasing proton number. You may want to use symbols or their names. Hydrogen, Helium, etc. God has created all these elements from nothing, in Islam we know God is the creator.
why are you drawing a periodic table? why not just print one from the internet and use as a reference
Great thought
how are you?
Abel Reply
alright , how about you
am fine
your name is Agbo?
my name is amel
l use the email of my husband
Practice Key Terms 8

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now

Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Chemistry' conversation and receive update notifications?