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Mercuric Chloride

Last updated date: 02nd Mar 2024
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Mercuric II Chloride

Mercury and chlorine are the two chemical compounds that react together to form HgCl₂ with the chemical name Mercuric chloride. Mercury chloride is also referred to as Mercury ii chloride or Mercury (II) chloride or Dichlor Mercury. Mercury (II) chloride is a compound that is highly toxic and the compound is also corrosive to the mucous membranes. The compound is mostly used as a wood preservative, disinfectant, fungicide, and antiseptic. By colour, Mercury dichloride is white and odourless in smell. It is a crystalline solid. Mercury ii chloride consists of a mercury atom that is bonded with two chlorines due to which is known as a triatomic molecule. The molecule gets dissolved in water.

Mercuric Chloride (HgCl₂) Properties

Following are some of the properties of mercury chloride:- 

  • The chemical formula of mercuric chloride is HgCl₂.

  • The molecular weight of the mercuric chloride (HgCl₂) is 271.52 g/mol.

  • Mercuric chloride has a density of 5.43 g/cm3.

  • The boiling point of the mercury chloride (HgCl₂) is 304°C.

  • The melting point of the mercury chloride (HgCl₂) is 276°C.

  • At ordinary temperatures, mercuric chloride is slightly volatile.

  • Mercuric chloride is a compound that can be sublime unchanged.

  • The solubility of the mercury chloride (HgCl₂) is 5 to 10 my/ml.

  • When inhaled, absorbed by skin or either digest the compound  (Mercuric chloride) cause toxicity.

Structure of Mercury Chloride (HgCl₂)

Both the exact mass of the Mercury II Chloride and also the monoisotopic mass of the mercury chloride is 271.908 g/mol. Both the number of donors and the acceptors of the number of hydrogen bonds is equal to zero. This compound consists of only one covalently bonded unit and the compound is canonicalized.

Uses of Mercury Chloride (HgCl₂)

Following are the certain uses of mercury chloride (HgCl₂):-

  • In the preservation of the anatomical specimens, mercuric chloride is used.

  • Mercuric chloride is also used in leather tanning.

  • It is also used in antiseptic and disinfectants.

  • Mercuric chloride is also used for micrography, in the manufacturing of ink.

  • In analytical chemistry, this compound is used as a reagent.

  • This compound is used as an intensifier in photography.

  • This compound is used in the conversion of acetylene into vinyl chloride as a catalyst.

  • Mercuric chloride is used as an ant repellent.

  • Mercuric chloride is used in the cases of the dry battery.

  • Mercuric chloride solution is used as a dip for tubers and bulbs.

  • For the conversion of vinyl chloride from acetylene, mercuric chloride is generally used. This vinyl chloride is used as a precursor of polyvinyl chloride.

  • Occasionally, To form an amalgam of metals such as aluminium, mercuric chloride (HgCl₂) is used.  

  • Mercuric chloride (HgCl₂) is a compound that is also used as a stabilizing agent in both the analytical samples as well as the chemical samples. 

FAQs on Mercuric Chloride

Q1. How Can Mercury Chloride and Mercury (II) Chloride be Prepared?

Ans. Generally, by the action of the chlorine on mercury (I) chloride or mercury, mercury chloride is obtained. Another method includes the addition of HCl (Hydrochloric acid) to a solution that is dry, concentrated mercury (I) compound such as nitrate. But the best method is to obtain via the action of chlorine on mercury.


Mercury (II) Chloride is obtained by the addition of HCl to a concentrated and hot solution of nitrate: 

HgNO₃ + 2HCl → HgCl₂ + H₂O + NO₂ 

A mixture of mercury sulphate (HgSO₄) and sodium chloride (HCl) is heated to give volatile Mercury (II) Chloride, which results in the formation of small rhombic crystals. With the increase in the temperature, the solubility of the compound also increases.  

Q2. Is Mercuric Acid Toxic in Nature? What are the Health Hazards Related to Mercuric Chloride?

Ans. Mercuric chloride is a compound that is highly toxic both if used as a cumulative toxin or used directly. The reason behind being highly toxic is not only because of the content of mercury present but also due to the properties of the compound which is corrosive which can result in substantial internal damage which includes corrosive bowel damage and also mouth, stomach, and throat ulcers.

Following are the facts which determine that mercury chloride is hazardous to health:-

  • Mercury ii chloride or Mercury (II) Chloride is considered to be one of the extremely toxic compounds. 

  • When any of the compounds of mercury is absorbed then it is poisonous. The probable lethal dosage of mercury chloride is 5-50 mg/kg. This compound is the toxic salt of the element mercury. 

  • Mercuric chloride attacks both the gastrointestinal text and also the renal systems.