Why We Need and also Fear Mercury, the Fluid Metal

Mercury, which normally looks like a thick silvery liquid, is the only steel that’s liquid at space temperature. Its important icon is Hg, which originates from the Greek word “hydrargyrum,” suggesting “liquid silver.” As a matter of fact, it’s additionally called quicksilver.

We make use of mercury in a vast array of items, from thermometers as well as barometers to batteries and also pesticides. Yet mercury is very harmful, and also we can absorb it by touch, inhalation, or consumption. It builds up in the body with each exposure as well as is extremely challenging to remove. If you obtain way too much in you, you can deal with mercury poisoning, which is both unpleasant as well as potentially deadly.

That’s why you need to take care not to damage a mercury thermometer or a small fluorescent lightbulb. It’s also why individuals are concerned concerning mercury in hazardous waste and pesticides moving into rivers and oceans as well as being soaked up by fish … which are after that consumed by people.

But where does mercury come from, as well as how do we obtain it?

Most mercury is mined from a mineral called cinnabar, which can include up to 86 percent mercury. People have been extracting mercury from cinnabar because at the very least Roman times. Blood vessels of the red-to-brownish mineral are normally discovered in rocks such as slate, limestone, shale, and also sandstone. A rarer type of cinnabar looks like striking deep red crystals embedded in various other rocks.

Just how do we obtain the mercury out? Cinnabar is squashed into small pieces as well as heated up in a kiln. When the temperature level strikes 675 levels Fahrenheit, the fluid mercury becomes a vapor. As that vapor cools down, the mercury condenses right into a pure fluid that can be collected.

Cinnabar is mined all over the world, consisting of Spain, Austria, Hungary, as well as Serbia. The USA has a variety of cinnabar mines, consisting of a number of in The golden state, Texas, as well as Nevada.

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