Basic Information

Name: Mercury
Symbol: Hg
Atomic Number: 80
Atomic Mass: 200.59 amu
Melting Point: -38.87 C (234.28 K, -37.966 F)
Boiling Point: 356.58 C (629.73 K, 673.844 F)
Number of Protons/Electrons: 80
Number of Neutrons: 121
Classification: Transition Metal
Crystal Structure: Rhombohedral
Density @ 293 K: 13.456 g/cm3
Color: Silver



Number of Energy Levels: 6

First Energy Level: 2
Second Energy Level: 8
Third Energy Level: 18
Fourth Energy Level: 32
Fifth Energy Level: 18
Sixth Energy Level: 2



Date of Discovery: Known to the ancients
Discoverer: Unknown
Name Origin: After the planet Mercury
Symbol Origin: From the Latin word hydrargyrum (liquid silver)
Uses: thermometers, barometers, fluorescent lamps, batteries
Obtained From: cinnabar ore


  1. Funky Facts


       Mercury is the chief component in mercury vapor lamps lighting our highways (and a chief cause of light pollution at night).


        QUICKSILVER: Mercury is also known as quicksilver because of its silvery color, and reflective metallic nature.


        DANGER!!! Although the pure metal form of Mercury is relatively harmless, when treated with nitric acid and alcohol it yields mercuric fulminate [Hg(ONC)2], an extremely unstable and explosive compound. Also compounds such as Mercuric Chloride can be deadly when absorbed or inhaled.


        Floating Around!!! Mercury is the heaviest known elemental liquid. In fact, it is so dense that bricks, cannonballs, lumps of lead, and iron float in mercury!!!


        The Noble Metal. Mercury rarely occurs in nature, and rarely combines with other elements. It will combine with Oxygen, but only with difficulty and at high temperatures.


        Mercury is found in meteorological equipment, and notably in thermometers and barometers.


        Mercury is not wet like most liquids. It can even be held in the hand. However the toxicity of Mercury makes this unsafe because Mercury will soak into the skin.



        Mirror Image!!! Mercury is very reflective. It is used to make mirrors .


        Mercury is a poor conductor of heat, but a good conductor of electricity.


        Mercury is mined as core Cinnabar. It is then ground up to make Vermillion and heated at 375 degrees centigrade. Then, the Mercury boils out. Because Mercury has such a low boiling point, it is easy to produce pure Mercury.

        World History: The Golden Touch!!! In ancient times mercury was an important element for medieval alchemists. It was suspected of being an element of which all matter is made from, and it was thought that when mercury was solid it turned into Gold!!!

Mercury has been found in fish and shellfish, making the fish poisonous to eat. The mercury is stored in their muscles which, when eaten by humans, gets released to cause liver, kidney and skin damage.


        Mercury vapor and salts of Mercury are poisonous--Never INHALE or SWALLOW Mercury! In fact, don't ever leave Mercury exposed in an open container at room temperature--it will slowly evaporate placing a toxic gas into the atmosphere. Mercury can be absorbed through the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems and even through unbroken skin, further, it is a cumulative poison. It doesn't easily flush out and levels can accumulate over time until it becomes toxic and deadly.