Here are 10 interesting facts about mercury. You can find detailed information about mercury on the mercury facts page.
- Mercury is the only metal that is a liquid at standard temperature and pressure.
- Although mercury is known to be highly toxic, it was considered therapeutic throughout much of history.
- The modern element symbol for mercury is Hg, which is the symbol for another name for mercury: hydrargyrum. Hydrargyrum comes from Greek words for "water-silver" (hydr- means water, argyros means silver).
- Mercury is a very rare element in the Earth's crust. It accounts for only about only 0.08 parts per million (ppm).
- Mercury generally is not allowed on aircraft because it combines so readily with aluminum, a metal that is common on aircraft. When mercury forms an amalgam with aluminum, the oxide layer that protects aluminum from oxidizing is disrupted. This causes aluminum to corrode, in much the same way as iron rusts.
- Mercury does not react with most acids.
- Mercury is a relatively poor conductor of heat. Most metals are excellent thermal conductors.
- Although mercury usually exhibits a +1 or +2 oxidation state, sometimes it has a +4 oxidation state.
- The element Mercury is named for the Roman god Mercury. Mercury is the only element to retain its alchemical name as its modern common name.
- Mercury and all of its compounds are toxic.
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