Cleaning liquid mercury metal | Summary and Q&A

February 28, 2016
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Cleaning liquid mercury metal


This video demonstrates the process of cleaning and filtering mercury to remove impurities and oil contamination.

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Key Insights

  • 💬 Cleaning mercury involves filtering it with a syringe and tightly-packed cotton balls to remove solid impurities and oil contamination.
  • ❓ The process requires multiple washing steps with sodium hydroxide solution and nitric acid to further cleanse the mercury.
  • 🍵 A vacuum apparatus is necessary to handle spills of mercury, which can be challenging to clean.
  • ❓ Distillation is recommended to completely remove soluble impurities from the mercury.
  • 🦺 Proper disposal of mercury waste and handling of mercury nitrate is crucial for safety.
  • 💦 Washing the mercury with distilled water helps eliminate leftover chemicals and impurities.
  • ❓ The final clean mercury obtained through this process is suitable for most reactions.


So, here is the Mercury (Hg) that I need to clean up. Above it, there is a large layer of water to keep the mercury vapors down. Unfortunately though, I got my mercury from various different sources where some were stored under oil and some was stored under water. I like to store mercury under water because then I don't have oil contamination when ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why is it important to filter and clean mercury before using it in a reaction?

Filtering and cleaning the mercury helps remove solid impurities, broken glass, and oil contamination, ensuring a purer form of mercury for better reaction results. It also helps improve the aesthetics of the mercury.

Q: Can the filtering process remove all impurities?

While the filtering process is effective in removing solid contaminants, it does not eliminate soluble impurities. To remove soluble impurities, the mercury needs to be distilled, as demonstrated in a future video mentioned by the creator.

Q: What materials and precautions are necessary when handling mercury?

It is crucial to work with mercury using a syringe, cotton balls, and a bucket to prevent spills or splashes. Wearing gloves and protective gear is recommended. Additionally, setting up a mercury vacuum apparatus is essential for easy cleanup and safety.

Q: What are the additional washing steps involved in the cleaning process?

After filtering, the mercury is washed with sodium hydroxide solution to remove oil, followed by washing with distilled water to remove residual sodium hydroxide. Nitric acid washing is then performed to eliminate dissolved metals.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The video shows how to filter mercury using a syringe and cotton balls to remove solid impurities and contaminated oil.

  • The process involves multiple washing steps using sodium hydroxide solution and nitric acid to further clean the mercury.

  • The final step includes passing the mercury through a cotton filter to achieve a relatively clean and usable product.

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