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MERCURY FOR SALE
Liquid Mercury for Sale
Although the use of mercury in glass thermometers, lamps, and other common household goods and products has been sharply curtailed and the element itself largely relegated to industrial applications, it is still possible to find old-fashioned mercury versions for the collector who’s willing to put in some legwork. Be sure to check out the FAQ below to learn more about this fascinating metal and how Luciteria Science makes it possible for element enthusiasts to own this amazing element for themselves with liquid mercury for sale
Back in the 70’s mercury was in every American home where several grams’ worth was to be found in every thermometer. The EPA came down hard on the sale and transport of mercury when it was found at alarming levels in the environment; not due to broken thermometers so much as poor industrial practices. The threat of stiff fines sharply curtailed its use outside of industry and the metal has practically vanished from consumer goods except for trace amounts in fluorescent lighting where adequate substitutes were never found.
The big danger with mercury concerns its disposal. Carelessly tossed on the ground it will eventually reach the water table where it combines with acids to form very harmful compounds that can pollute large areas and making cleanup a nightmare. Restricted to laboratory use, or carefully curated by an elements collector, this remains a mesmerizingly beautiful metal without equal.
International shipping on mercury varies by country but in most cases small quantities should be permitted. Domestic deliveries will be sent by surface mail to comply with federal regulations.
What are the chemical properties of quicksilver, aka liquid mercury metal?
Of all the metallic elements, perhaps none is so shrouded in mystery and mystique as mercury. A liquid at room temperature which can be found in nature in both raw ore and elemental form, this curious and exceedingly rare element is a heavy metal that shares many properties with noble gases. Mercury’s atomic number is 80 and it has an atomic weight of 200.59, depending on the isotope, of which seven stable isotopes are currently known along with around a dozen radioactive isotopes, two of which are used in medicine to study the liver and brain. Its atomic symbol is Hg, from the Latin word hydrargyrum, which literally means “liquid silver.” It has a very low melting point of -38.8˚C (-37.84˚F) and its boiling point is 356˚C (672.8˚F), which means it has the lowest temperature range of any known metal. Inorganic mercury is also a listed ACS reagent at 99.9995+% purity, making it one of the more indispensable laboratory chemicals. Because of mercury’s density, it sinks in water, but other heavy metals such as iron can float on a pool of it! Mercury is a poor heat conductor and only a modest electrical conductor. Along with gallium, the “other” liquid metal, it’s one of the few substances which reacts, and reacts energetically, with aluminum. Curiously, mercury does not react with iron because of their respective valence states, which is why for centuries iron flasks were the only reliable way to safely store or transport it. Its high surface tension is why it forms into droplets and gobbets the way it does. Its silver color and mirror-like reflectivity have inspired any number of myths, legends, and beliefs about its nature. Mercury’s appearance was also chosen by director James Cameron as the model for the “mimetic poly-alloy” of which the murderous T-1000 was composed in the Arnold Schwarzenegger record smasher Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Much of our current knowledge about this mysterious substance has come down to us from alchemy, chemistry’s occult precursor. Mercury’s unusual properties were well-documented and often pressed into service by alchemists around the globe as they searched for exotic materials such as the Philosopher’s Stone, the elixir of immortality and eternal youth, and the quest to transmute base metals into gold. In fact, European alchemists christened this element for the Roman god Mercury, the messenger of the gods. They took Mercury’s astrological symbol to represent the element in their codices, grimoires, and study notes. It was often referred to as “the serpent” or “the soul of matter,” and was believed to transcend states of being: liquid and solid, water and air, feminine and masculine, moon and sun, life and death. As alchemy declined in popularity, and science and technology as we know them gained ascendency, the alchemical ideas of what mercury is and is not mostly faded into folklore. Echoes of these ideas longer in the term “quicksilver” and the planetary symbol for Mercury. The phrase “mad as a hatter” is widely believed to be a result of heavy metal poisoning caused by treating animal hair fibers with mercury to create felt for hats, causing neurological conditions including insanity. It wasn’t until 1941 that the US finally banned the use of mercury in haberdashery, and the USA continues to carefully scrutinize the use of mercury to keep it out of the environment as much as possible.
Cinnabar, a reddish-brown substance composed of sulfur and mercury, is the most common ore form of mercury. Sulfur and mercury have an unusual affinity, meaning they bind together readily, which is why mercury is commonly found with sulfur. Some sources state that pure or nearly pure sulfur is the best and safest way to quickly clean up a mercury spill! Because of this property, mercury was often considered the feminine “spouse” of the “masculine” sulfur in medieval European science and alchemy. Mercury can occasionally be found in unbound liquid form near hot springs, vents, geysers, and in areas of heavy volcanic activity. It is also commonly found in gold mines, and its production is a side benefit of the mining process.
For nearly 4,000 years, mercury, also known as “hydrargyrum” (literally water-silver, from which the chemical symbol Hg is derived) or “quicksilver,” has made an indelible mark upon human history. From medicine to mysticism and beauty to burial goods for rulers, mercury metal in its refined elemental form was well-known to the ancient Chinese, Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and Hindus. Cinnabar was used across the ancient world as a pigment, from Guatemala to modern-day Germany and Gabellino, Italy to Gadhada, India. Cinnabar mines were employed by the Roman Empire to satisfy their insatiable lust for the liquid metal. Mining cinnabar without safety protocols in place often led to heavy metal poisoning, severe illness and frequently death in addition to other common mining dangers, which is why convicted criminals were forced to work the cinnabar deposits. This both supplied mercury and sulfur to the Empire and served as a de facto method of capital punishment for convicted criminals. Today, the richest known deposits of cinnabar are found in the United States, Italy, and Spain. Cinnabar is found nearly everywhere on the planet, from Mexico to Mumbai. It is legal to buy liquid mercury in its raw form just about anywhere, from chemical supply stores and specialty merchants such as Luciteria Science!
Historically, mercury was used in cosmetics, medicines and to create amalgam, or types of an alloy including mercury compounds, with other metals. There are few metals with which mercury does not react, most notably iron, platinum, tungsten, and tantalum. Mercury was widely used in copper, gold, and silver prospecting to extract precious metals from ores through the amalgamation process; in jewelry and hat-making; in acids for dry batteries; in thermometers, which were sometimes filled with an amalgam of thallium and mercury which allowed for the thermometers to be used at lower temperatures than conventional mercury alone; and in other types of measuring equipment and lab supply instrument apparatus such as blood pressure monitors and barometers. It should be noted that mercury is still being used extensively, and often illegally, in small-scale artisanal and clandestine gold mining. Mercury is especially popular among gold miners and artisans who use traditional methods including amalgamation to obtain high-purity gold in some areas of Peru, other parts of South and Central America and portions of East and Southeast Asia, despite international treaties requiring countries to minimize and, where possible, eliminate mercury from the mining process out of concern for both environmental and worker health impact. Today, mercury is sometimes used in dentistry to create fillings; to create reducer amalgams for research purposes; and to produce, when combined with aluminum, a highly corrosive reagent to break down compounds including organic chemicals and inorganic chemicals for scientific analysis. Adding mercury to sulfuric acid creates an acid known as Denigés’ Reagent, which when exposed to substances containing certain types of alcohol forms a precipitate of red or yellow crystals. This property is used today to test water bodies for mercury contamination using polypropylene alcohol. Mercury is also used in certain pH buffers, chemicals designed to maintain the pH balance of materials upon the addition of acidic or basic compounds such as nitric acid.
Mercury is considered one of the rare earths because it occurs in the Earth’s crust at an average of .5 parts per million. However, that doesn’t mean it’s “rare” or precious per se. It is easy to buy mercury metal, as it is readily available by the kilogram, bottle, or flask. Obtaining ultra-pure, triple distilled mercury such as the samples Luciteria Science offers to our customer base is only modestly more difficult and the prices only slightly higher.
Starting around 1970, the federal government, worried about the environmental impact of improperly disposed-of mercury products, began placing pressure on companies that make mercury-based products to find and use safer alternatives in their products moving forward. For example, the mercury-vapor lamp is all but extinct, having been largely replaced with brighter, more environmentally-friendly sodium or LED lights for purposes other than indoor grow lights and reptile lights, where cooler light temperatures are required. This new crackdown powered a revolution in medical devices of all sorts as well as other consumer goods, such as tilt switches for thermostats, which have been largely replaced in post-manual times by recent developments in remote, electronically managed climate control systems. Thermometers, because they go into the human body, were some of the first and most dramatically affected. It’s fun to note, though, that even though most thermometers today are filled with some sort of alcohol, we still relate temperature and barometric pressure to mercury, as in, “The mercury’s rising and today’s going to be a scorcher!” even though the thermometer they’re reading from probably doesn’t contain a single drop of quicksilver and may in fact rely on an electronic sensor which uses no active chemicals at all! All of this is the long way of saying that unless you have an old-fashioned glass and mercury thermometer, there is a very good chance it doesn’t.
Mercury and products containing mercury are legal, but have been restricted due to concerns about the environmental damage it can leave behind. Antique glass thermometers containing mercury, for example, are still legal to sell, but they’re hard to find and more interesting as a historical curiosity than as a practical source of mercury, given they usually only contain a few grams at most. Mercury is legal for sale and purchase within the United States, with very few restrictions. Export of mercury is limited to 1g per order and Luciteria Science cannot ship to countries under trade embargo or interdiction by the USA.
With proper care and handling, under normal conditions, mercury is no more dangerous than any household cleaning product you use. You ingest trace amounts of mercury every year through food and simple environmental exposure. It’s used as a dental material for filling teeth. Cigarette smokers can be exposed to mercury and other toxic substances through smoking. Obviously, we don’t recommend you handle it with bare skin, the way you sometimes see people doing in YouTube videos, or try to use it as a mouthwash. Giving mercury in a sealed ampoule, acrylic element cube or using it in a classroom setting is perfectly safe.
Luciteria Science only sells mercury in glass ampules or acrylic element cubes which are not designed or intended to be opened or broken. Mercury is as safe as other elements when handled with proper care and safety precautions. Due to mercury’s toxicity, high-grade mercury and triple distilled mercury liquid should only be handled in the glass ampule provided or viewed via the acrylic element cube. Exposed mercury should not be handled without proper personal protection equipment or in a poorly ventilated area. Mercury metal can be absorbed through even unbroken skin, the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs. Because of these dangers, many schools have adopted gallium metal samples as a safer alternative when they want to demonstrate some of the properties of mercury. Gallium melts at a pleasantly hot 86˚F/30˚C, meaning you can melt it in your hand, mold it and shape it. The trouble with gallium, of course, is that it’s nowhere near as dense and of course isn’t a liquid at room temperature, even though it does have a very low melting point for a metal. Also, mercury prices tend to be about one-sixth of a comparable amount of gallium, which for many cash-strapped schools makes mercury an easier choice. If you’re looking for a safer alternative to mercury for the classroom which shares many of its characteristics, Luciteria Science sells the highest-quality, lowest-cost gallium around!
Luciteria Science is proud to be a global source for high-quality, high-purity gallium, indium, tin, magnesium, nickel, mercury, and much more! Our element density cube collection features real laboratory-quality samples of elements, suitable for precision reference work, the physics or chemistry lab, the classroom, or your own home or office. While we can’t make a cube of mercury, and couldn’t sell it as such if we did due to safety and shipping considerations, we do have a big selection of samples safely encased in a number of attractive ways, including our crystal-cletar Lucite acrylic display cubes! However, for those who are interested, Luciteria Science does offer a 10mm gallium meal cube which, as long as you keep your home, office or classroom at normal temperature is as close to a mercury density cube as you can get! These virtually indestructible cubes allow you to showcase your elements collection in a way that’s pleasing to the eye and less harsh on your wallet than you might expect. Each one is engraved with the element’s name, chemical symbol, atomic number, and atomic mass. The more volatile elements like chlorine, mercury, and arsenic are housed safely within an ampoule within the acrylic cube structure, making them nearly impossible to destroy while still allowing students, scientists, and enthusiasts to own a piece of the periodic table that can be held in the palm of your hand! Luciteria’s catalog of offerings keeps growing all the time, organized into the following categories: Crystals Lucite cubes Metal cubes Mirror cubes Rounds Bullion and, of course, our signature Lucite acrylic display cases, designed to keep your elements attractively and safely housed for display on the table, desktop, wall—virtually anywhere! From our tiny 5g vials to big 50mm cubes, Luciteria Science’s element samples are portable works of art to take on the road, to school, to the office, or anywhere you might want to show them off. Worried about shipping and returns? With Luciteria Science, you don’t have to be. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and no-questions-asked returns if the sample you ordered doesn’t delight you and those you care about!
We invite you to scroll through each category to see the newest and latest element samples and formats. Try clicking on each element to get related search information, including the formats each one is available in. Be sure to register on our forum to get the latest news and information on what Luciteria has to offer too!