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Hershey's avatar

Artificial Mercury Creation?

Asked by Hershey (8 points ) April 24th, 2010

I am doing a project for school and need to know if there is a way mercury can be artificially created and how. I do not need specifics just what materials combine to form it. I know it is one of the basic elements so it is not made from any chemical compound but is there a way to make some in a lab?

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22 Answers

earthduzt's avatar

I seriously don’t think that if you are asking how to make Mercury that you should even be attempting to make it. It is a very poisonous substance and would require some very poisonous ingredients. It can be absorbed through your skin as well as permeate the air around you. I wouldn’t be playing with that stuff, very harmful.

jaytkay's avatar

You want actual mercury or something that acts like mercury?

BhacSsylan's avatar

As you said, it is a basic element, which means there is no good way to ‘form’ it, without nuclear fusion or fission. Now, it is possible to isolate it from another source, that is find a compound with it and seperate it out, but almost any substance that would contain it is highly hazardous, as @earthduzt mentioned. It would be a very bad idea, and very difficult. Don’t try it.

And i agree that if you are asking “how do i make it”, you shouldn’t be trying it. You need a much higher level of chemical knowledge before you should even think about playing with a dangerous poison like that.

Hershey's avatar

@earthduzt It is a hypothetical question for school. I dont need to know exactly how to make it, just what is in it when made in a lab

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Hershey Well, that’s a little less dangerous. But still, you need nuclear fission or fusion to ‘make’ it.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The creation of an element from other substances is called alchemy, an ancient art that was unsuccessful because those who practised it did not understand the laws of chemistry.

earthduzt's avatar

@Hershey oh sorry, guess I misunderstood the question, thought you wanted to make some in a lab of some sort.

janbb's avatar

Here’s the information you’re looking for and it is from a reliable source – the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hershey's avatar

@janbb Thanks, that helped a lot!

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Just to say, that isn’t entirely true. Most of the problem with attempting to make an element is that the alchemists didn’t realize it was a pure element, or rather what was or was not a pure substance. Almost every major early discovery in chemistry (and many in physics) were brought about by alchemists (Newton, Boyle, Hooke, etc). They simply were operating with a lack of facts (because they were yet to be discovered), not because they did not understand them.

And, it is possible. Just requires fission or fusion.

@Hershey it seems most of us didn’t understand your question, as Janbb’s link has different information then I thought you needed. Sorry about that.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@BhacSsylan I was trying to answer without getting unduly technical. I recognize the contributions to knowledge made by some of the alchemists and I assumed the the OP was not considering using nuclear reactions to transform substances in the school lab.

Hershey's avatar

@BhacSsylan Well really the only sentence on the page I read was one that said “Humans cannot create or destroy mercury.” Which was what I needed to know.

janbb's avatar

Which was what I thought the question was about.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Well, he seemed to be asking about making it, which seems more like a chemistry then history class, where alchemy would appear. And sorry, I just get sensitive about the popular conception of Alchemy, which is that it was, as you said, an unsuccessful ancient art that was done by people ignorant of natural laws, when it was actually simply an early form of chemistry. Sorry for any offense.

@Hershey Yes, this is technically true. But if you read that, why did you ask about making it? Sorry, ‘making’ tends to indicate creating something.

Hershey's avatar

@janbb It was the first part, the second part only applied if it was able to be created (without the fission/fusion)

@BhacSsylan I’m not completely understanding your question

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Hershey Hmm. I think we’re both misunderstanding each other. Ah, the internet. In the first question, were you asking if one could create mercury out of raw materials, or simply how one would get some?

Hershey's avatar

@BhacSsylan If it could be created from raw materials

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Hershey Okay. my next question, then, was if you read that you couldn’t, why did you ask? Just to confirm?

Since it’s hard to tell on the internet, i want to say I’m not trying to sound like a jerk, as i may be coming off that way. I’m just confused about the question.

Hershey's avatar

@BhacSsylan No you aren’t coming across that way at all. To answer your question, i was just trying to confirm like you said. I needed a straight answer that was less technical than the textbook; I was making sure I read it correctly.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Okay. Well, if you wanted a slightly more thorough answer (hopefully not too technical), you can’t really make it (easily), because atoms are generally considered ‘Indivisible’. That is, you cannot break them into smaller bits. And, if you cannot make them into smaller bits, you have no way to make it, because you don’t have smaller bits with which to make it. Does that make sense?

Now, as I’ve been saying, it is possible, because atoms are not truly indivisible, and so they can be split and reformed (fission and fusion, respectively). However, this is a very unusual case, for the most part.

mattbrowne's avatar

Nuclear transmutation.

RocketGuy's avatar

If you want to know how to get mercury from minerals, look through here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_(element)
and follow the leads.

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