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Is Mercury a Metal?

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Last updated date: 25th Jul 2024
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Mercury: Symbol, Atomic Number, Atomic Weight, Uses, and Effects on Human Body

Have you ever wondered what the silver liquid inside the thermometer is? Well, it is an element called Mercury. Quicksilver is another name for the liquid, silvery-shiny metal mercury. With the atomic weight of Mercury being 200.59 and the atomic number of mercury  80 on the periodic chart, it is a transition metal with the element symbol Hg.

Symbol of Mercury

Symbol of Mercury 

Who Discovered the Mercury Element?

Mercury has been discovered in Egyptian tombs that date back to around 1500 B.C., and it was known to the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, and Hindus. Mercury is referred to as "hydro-argyros" by Aristotle in his writings from the fourth century B.C., which translates to "liquid silver" or "water silver."

Discovery of Mercury

Discovery of Mercury 

Is Mercury a Metal? 

Historically known as quicksilver, elemental or metallic mercury is a gleaming, silver-white metal that is liquid at ambient temperature.

Where Can You Find Liquid Mercury? 

Like other metals, mercury is collected from ores, with cinnabar being one of the most common types. China, Spain, and California are where you can find them most often. The ore does contain liquid mercury in the form of drops, however, it is typically removed through heating.

What is Mercury Used For?

Use of Mercury in Thermometers

Use of Mercury in Thermometers 

There are Various Uses of Mercury Shown Below:

  • Because of its homogeneous expansion and contraction, elemental mercury is used in thermometers, blood pressure monitors, and thermostats to measure changes in temperature and pressure.

  • Additionally, fluorescent lighting, paints, soaps, batteries, and dental fillings all contain mercury.

  • Tin and silver are alloyed with mercury in the amalgam used in dental fillings. Mercury has been employed as a fungicide in paint because it functions as a biocide, however, this type of paint is no longer available.

Adverse Effects of Mercury

Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning

Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning 

One of the best ways to help the environment is to stop using certain dangerous substances like mercury, which can be found in some energy-efficient appliances. Mercury can cause serious damage if it gets into water supply systems, creating health risks for humans and animals alike. There is no safe level of mercury exposure - even low levels can be harmful. 

Effects of Mercury on the Human Body 

The central and peripheral neurological systems are hazardous to both elemental and methylmercury. Mercury vapour inhalation may be lethal and have detrimental effects on the lungs, kidneys, neurological, digestive, and immune systems. The inorganic salts of mercury are harmful to the kidneys if consumed and are corrosive to the skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal tract.


Thus, here we have discussed the symbol of mercury, the atomic number of mercury, the atomic weight of mercury, where liquid mercury can be found, the effect of mercury and all other important topics related to mercury. The smallest planet in the solar system and one that is nearest to the Sun is Mercury. Mercury vapour inhalation may be fatal and have adverse effects on the lungs, kidneys, neurological, digestive, and immune systems. 

FAQs on Is Mercury a Metal?

1. Why is mercury so valuable?

As a good electrical conductor, mercury is frequently utilised in a variety of items, including switches and batteries. Due to its propensity to mix with other metals, it is employed in small-scale mining operations to amalgamate gold and silver.

2. Why is mercury needed in the mining of gold?

Mercury is used in mines to recover tiny bits of gold that are buried in mud and dirt. An amalgam is created when mercury and gold settle and come together. The mercury is then burned off to extract the gold.

3. What type of metal is mercury?

Mercury (Hg), popularly known as quicksilver, is a chemical element and a liquid metal in Periodic Group 12 (IIb, or zinc group).