Does Mercury Conduct Electricity?
I bought this from my science shop yesterday so that I could perform more experiments.
Why is it a liquid?
The reason for mercury being a liquid is complex. It is heavy; a chunk of iron can float on mercury. Compared to other metals, it does not conduct heat well. However, it conducts electricity fairly well.
Mercury is the only metal that is a liquid at normal temperatures and pressure. What makes mercury so special? Basically, it’s because mercury is bad at sharing… electrons, that is.
Most metal atoms readily share valence electrons with other atoms. The electrons in a mercury atom are bound more tightly than usual to the nucleus. In fact, the s electrons are moving so fast and close to the nucleus they exhibit relativistic effects, behaving as if they were more massive than slower-moving electrons.
Why does it conduct electricity?
Mercury is a liquid metal. As with all metals, the outer electrons are detached from the nuclei and form a kind of “sea of electrons” in which the rest of the atoms sit. A small electrical force, in other words a voltage, placed across any two points in this sea will make the electrons move, and that constitutes a current and makes a metal electrically conducting.
I wanted to see that mercury can conduct electricity. I opened mercury bottle, it has an inner closure, I’m not going to take it out because we need it.
I’m going to put pins in it.
I will flip the bottle and the mercury will be in contact with the pins and the circuit will turn on.
It works nicely!
This chemical will go into my favorite chemical list!
14 Replies to “Does Mercury Conduct Electricity?”
Mercury can be used to make thermometers, barometers and other scientific instruments. Mercury conducts electricity and is used to make silent, position-dependent switches.
Well I used to . . . . 😀
Mercury use to be used in the furnace thermostats to make the connection.
You are very welcome Dan!
Wow! you know a lot about science 🙂
You’re welcome 🙂
Also, as far as I know, there are only a few elements that are liquid at room temperature; mercury is one and bromine is another.
Great fun when experiments work 🙂
Also, thank you so much!
You’re lucky that you didn’t have mercury poisoning 🙂 You can obtain mercury from thermometers too. I heard that mercury can conduct electricity so I wanted to see if it really does by performing this experiment.
Thank you so much, and for visiting! 🙂
Oh wow! This is SO cool! Great job!
This is such a cool experiment!
And I love love love mercury! Any time we accidentally broke a mercury thermometer, we Had to play with the little mercury blobs before cleaning it up!
As a kid at school we had to take turns to stick our finger in a dish of mercury!! This expt would not be allowed nowadays!