Mercury

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Mercury
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Mercury, well known as the only liquid metal at room temperature, has traditionally been used in thermometers, where its wide liquid range (between its melting and boiling points) allows for accurate temperature measurement. Another common use of mercury is in fluorescent lights. But mercury must be used with care: its highly toxic nature can result in damage to the brain, heart and kidneys, via poisoning. Despite this, the behaviour of this liquid metal has great visual appeal, given its lustrous, mirrored appearance, and high surface tension that causes it to form up into spherical balls and easily glide across surfaces. These unique aesthetic qualities have not been lost on artists; Alexander Calder created a mercury fountain in 1937, in which the rippling metallic surface captivated audiences, which is still on display (behind protective glass) in Barcelona’s Fundació Joan Miró today.

Sample ID: 176

Particularities

Chemical symbol
Hg
State
Liquid
Compound
Donated by
King’s College London
Selections
Categories
Metal
Curiosities
Relationships
Metal | Liquid | Shiny | Flow

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