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5 Uses of mercury

Mercury is also referred to as quicksilver and hydrargyrum. It is a chemical element with atomic number 80 and symbol Hg. The only metallic element which is becomes liquid at standard conditions, including temperature and pressure. Another liquid element is halogen bromine and other metals like gallium, rubidium, and cesium melt above room temperature. This element exists in the form of deposits around the world as the mercuric sulfide.

Vermillion is a red pigment obtained through grinding synthetic mercuric sulfide or natural cinnabar. Multiple applications use mercury, for instance, barometers, thermometers, mercury relays, manometers, mercury switches, fluorescent lamps, float valves, and sphygmomanometers. The clinical environment has substituted sphygmomanometers and mercury thermometers with alcohol-filled thermometers and thermistors based on electronics. Similarly, electronic gauge sensors and mechanical pressure gauges have substituted mercury sphygmomanometers. Here is some of the main use of mercury.


1. Meteorological equipment

Mercury is used widely in laboratory tools. Mercury analyzers measure the amount of mercury in all equipment. These include a thermometer. It measures temperature and has a glass bulb filled with mercury. Mercury increases when the temperature rises. The thermal expansion, which causes scale, allows you to read the temperature. Units are measured in degrees Fahrenheit or degrees Celsius. The barometer is used to measure atmospheric pressure, and it has similar characteristics as a mercury thermometer. However, it works through balancing mercury’s weight against air pressure. Mercury levels reduce when mercury’s weight becomes higher than air pressure. On the other hand, if the weight of mercury is lower than air pressure, the mercury level rises.

2. Industries

Mercury is found in several industries, like chemical industries. Agricultural industries also use mercury to make fungicides. Another application is photoelectric properties and electromechanical processes. This has led to difficulty in replacing mercury seeing that it is toxic to the environment. Besides, electronics use mercury in view of its high density need little space, unlike other liquids. It is also known to be a good conductor of electricity. Mercury is useful in electrical switches, paints, fluorescent lighting, and soaps.

3. Mirrors

Glass is a major component of mirrors but a poor reflector. It only reflects a low percentage of light with proper uniformity when polished. Other kinds of glass are used to produce quality scientific materials. They have chemical components for making them resistible in harsh environmental conditions. Manufactures coat all mirror glasses. Mercury is among the metals for coating mirrors before 1940. This is because the metal spreads evenly on the surface and does not tarnish the glass. Nonetheless, it was abandoned, seeing that it is a toxic liquid.

4. Batteries

Manufacturers place mercury inside batteries in order to prevent the development of internal gases. These may result in bulging or leaking of battery. Examples of battery with mercury are mercuric oxide batteries and button cell batteries. Mercuric batteries are produced for a medical or military tool that needs a long life. Button cell batteries are applicable in tiny electronic devices like cameras, watches, toys, and calculators. They have fewer chances of leaking mercury, and it can only escape after incinerated.

5. Cosmetics

Some cosmetics, such as skin lightening cosmetics, contain mercury. One research has measured mercury content in skin lightening products. The study has focused on products available to United States consumers in stores or online. These products were screened using an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. Of the tested products, 6 % had levels of mercury at 1000ppm, while 45% had exceeded 10,000pm level of mercury.

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