Mercury, it's not just a planet!

By: Taylor Yeager

All about Mercury


When people hear the word Mercury they usually think of the planet.  Yet Mercury is not just a planet.  It is also an element of the Periodic Table.  Read on if you want to learn about Mercury, the element of course.


On the Periodic Table of Elements, Mercury is symbolized by two letters, Hg.  Hg stands for its Latinized Greek name which is hydrogyrum.  Its atomic number is 80.  This means that it has 80 protons and 80 electrons.  Its atomic mass is 200.59 so its mass number is 201.  It has 121 neutrons.  It is in group 12 and period 6.  Since it is in period 6 this means it has 6 shells.  Although, since it is in group 12 you cannot tell how many valence electrons it will have.  The melting point for Mercury is -38.9 °C and its boiling point is 356.6 °C.  It is also the ONLY common metal which is liquid at an ordinary temperature.
Mercury takes the appearance of a heavy silvery-white liquid.  This is why it is sometimes called quicksilver.  Despite its appearance it is a poor conductor of heat but a fairly well conductor of electricity.  “The most important mercury salts are mercuric chloride HgCl2 (corrosive sublimate - a violent poison), mercuric chloride Hg2Cl2 (calomel, still used in medicine occasionally), mercury fulminate (Hg(ONC)2, a detonator used in explosives) and mercuric sulphide (HgS, vermillion, a high-grade paint pigment).”(

Common Uses

Mercury has many uses.  It is MOST commonly used in thermometers, but it can also be used in barometers and manometers.  In some places it is used as a liquid.  They use it for manufacturing other chemicals such as chlorine and sodium hydroxide.  You also might find mercury in electrical appliances.  Some examples are consumer batteries and fluorescent lighting.
You will also find many uses out of mercury compounds.  Such as something called Calomel (mercurous chloride, Hg2Cl2); it is used in some medicines.  Another one used in medicine would be mercuric oxide; it is used in skin ointments.  One that is poisonous is called mercuric chloride (corrosive sublimate, HgCl2); you can use it use it in poisons that keep ants and rats out, also it is in some disinfectants.  Another dangerous one is mercury fulminate, Hg(CNO)2; you can use it to detonate things (such as bombs).

When would I ever need mercury?

Going somewhere?  Somewhere where you would need to fend off enemies to live?  Or somewhere where there is a hot sun and the air makes your skin dry?  Well you would need mercury for your survival.  If you need to fend off enemies, and don’t want all that violent stuff, then slip a little mercury into their food or drink.  Most likely to work would be mercuric chloride.  It is a poison and if it works on insects and rats, then it will work perfect to defend you; rater you use it on other humans, animals, or things that you have never seen before.
Are you one of those people that just likes to, let it blow?  Blow things up?  Watch it go KA-BOOM?  Well I got news for you!  Mercury is perfect for that.  You use mercury fulminate to detonate a bomb.  So if you’re not into all that slow, slow, slow, and slow; then make it go KA-BOOM!  You will blow up any predator rather its human, animal, or you don’t even know what it is; it won’t get near you.  As long as you blow it up. Now, picture this, you are in a faraway place; you have never been there before; maybe you haven’t even heard about it before.  There is a hot sun; the ground is very dry.  You can feel the dryness rising up; itching, sneaking, creeping all over your skin.  You need something, and you need it bad!  There is a solution!  Take mercuric oxide with you.  It is used in a skin ointment so it will cover you well!  Rub it all over your skin and just feel the relief.  Feel the dryness of your skin, the hot, dry air seeping away. Now that you know all about mercury and its many compound options, I hope you choose them.  So next time you are offered a great opportunity that may be “out of this world” make sure to take mercury along!  You never know what conditions or creatures this new place might bring.

Rank 'em explination

I rated Biological Need 2 stars because, even though it is poisonous and not safe to eat or drink, you can use it in skin ointments and it is also sometimes used a little in medicines.  I gave Social Need 2 stars also, because it is used in batteries, poison and to detonate bombs.  Most people would want to trade for this because you can use the batteries for electricity, the poison for just poison and obviously to detonate bombs.  For Functional Need i rated it 4 stars, because it is used in thermometers which will help you tell the temperature of where you are.  If you know the temperature then you can get a basic picture of where you are.  This will help you figure out how to build your house, get food and most of all, survive in that climate.  Defensive Need deserves 5 stars, because you can use it as a poison and to detonate bombs.  This will help against enemies.  Just spray them with poison or blow them away, and you will not get hurt.

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