Periodic Table of the Elements: Mercury

Name: Mercury
Symbol: Hg
Atomic Number: 80
Atomic Mass: 200.59
Atomic Volume: 13.94 cc/mol
Discovered By: Prehistoric
Discovery Date: Mercury has been known since ancient times, liquid mercury has been found in Egyptian tombs from 1500 BC
Origin of Name: Mercury - named after the planet Mercury, the symbol Hg is from (Latin) hydragyrum (liquid silver)
Toxicity: Toxic, particularly vapor; attacks the central nervous system, primarily the cerebral cortex.
Summary: Mercury occurs free in nature only rarely; usually it is found as the ore, cinnabar (HgS). Mercury is sometimes called quicksilver. Mercury is the only common metal that is liquid at room temperature. Mercury has a rather high vapor pressure, and breathing mercury vapor is the cause of mercury poisoning. Used in thermometers and barometers, mercury tooth fillings, and fluorescent lamps.

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© Copyright 1998 David August