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Uses of mercury

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1. Find out 2 or 3 uses for mercury.

2. For each use find out why mercury was chosen for the job

3. What are the dangers from using mercury.

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Solution Summary

This solution provides a background into mercury, its uses and the dangers associated with using mercury. The solution also provides some further reading, but there is a lot of information about mercury included in the solution. Extensive biological effects resulting from mercury exposure are also detailed in the solution.

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Mercury is also known by the chemical symbol Hg. It is at number 80 on the periodic table of elements and weighs 200.59 atomic mass units.

Uses for Mercury
A. Mercury is found and used in thermometers. Mercury is used in this application as it is a common metal that is liquid over ordinary temperatures. It has a melting point of -39C and a boiling point of 357C. It also has a uniform volumetric expansion making it ideal for thermometers.

B. Mercury is found and used in dental fillings. Mercury can readily form alloys (which is a mixture of two or more elements) with other metals. Alloys containing mercury are called amalgams. Dental amalgam is a mixture of mercury, and an alloy of silver, tin and copper. Mercury makes up about 40-50 percent of the compound. Mercury is used to bind the metals together and to provide a strong, hard durable filling. After years of research, mercury has been found to be the only element that will bind these metals together in such a way that can be easily manipulated into a tooth cavity.

C. Mercury was used in the manufacturing of felt-hats, but this is ...

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