Mercury, also called liquid silver, has the atomic number 80, an atomic weight of 200.59, boiling point of 356.6°C, melting point of −38.9°C, specific gravity of 13.55, vapor pressure of 1.22 × 10−3 mm at 20°C (2.8 × 10−3 mm at 30°C), and solubility in water of 6 × 10−6 g per 100 ml (25°C). It is a heavy, glistening, silvery-white metal, a rather poor conductor of heat but a fair conductor of electricity. It has seven stable isotopes with the following percent abundances: 195Hg (0.15); 198Hg (10.1); 199Hg (17.0); 200Hg (23.3); 201Hg (13.2); 202Hg (29.6); and 204Hg (6.7). There are many minerals of Hg; the commonest are the sulfides cinnabar and metacinnabar. Mercury is recovered almost entirely from cinnabar (α-HgS, 86.2% Hg); less important sources are livingstonite (HgS•2Sb2S3), metacinnabar (β-HgS), and about 25 other Hg-containing minerals. Its unusual high volatility, which increases with increasing temperature, accounts for its presence in the atmosphere in appreciable amounts.


Proc Inti Conf National Research Council Canada Phenylmercuric Acetate Phenylmercury Acetate Methylmercury Dicyandiamide 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. C. Adriano
    • 1
  1. 1.Biogeochemical Ecology Division, Savannah River Ecology LaboratoryUniversity of Georgia Institute of EcologyAikenUSA

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