Completely and totally off-topic and without any meritwhatso

From: Pete Turnbull <>
Date: Wed Sep 8 02:41:57 2004

On Sep 7 2004, 23:08, William Donzelli wrote:
> > Compounds in mercury? Such as?
> Mercury can combine with lots of things. Probably the most common is
> ore, cinnebar. I think it can even be part of some organic compounds.

It readily reacts with even dilute nitric acid to form nitrates, or
with aqua regia (a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids) to form
mercuric chloride, also known as corrosive sublimate. It reacts slowly
with sulphur, chlorine, or oxygen (cinnabar is mercury sulphide). Pure
mercury sulphide used to be used as vermilion pigment (which may
explain something about some artists). It reacts dangerously rapidly
with bromine, and reacts with ammonia (don't try this at home!). The
oxide reacts with quite a lot of things; it's used to make mercuric
sulphate which is (was?) used as for some organic reactions. BTW, the
reactions with oxygen and sulphur are very slow, which is why mercury
vapour is, well, mercury vapour (rather than mercury oxide); and why
the advice that used to be given to use flowers of sulphur (finely
powdered sulphur) to mop up mercury spills is not very good (use zinc
powder instead, to make a non-volatile amalgam).

Some of the compounds are very toxic, and some can react with organic
materials to produce organo-mercuric compounds (some list members are
old enough to remember the Japanese fishermen who were poisoned by
consuming them in fish over a long period). Lots of these are liquids
with high toxic vapours.

Pete						Peter Turnbull
						Network Manager
						University of York
Received on Wed Sep 08 2004 - 02:41:57 BST

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