Liquid Mercury

Posted: July 02, 2013

I think metal is OK, and I think liquid is OK, but for some reason if you put them together, "OK" turns into SO FUCKING RAD. (Huh. I just realized I feel similarly about vodka and this girl Karin I know). And when it comes to liquid mercury, adding a balloon to the mix and then popping it over a pool of water while recording the process at various camera angles that can later be played back in slow motion only adds to the radness.

Here liquid mercury is sold by the pound, at 99.9995% pure metal. It comes with a Certificate of Analysis and MSDS, but no instructions on how to handle or play safely with it. And I'm pretty sure if any number of the jackasses I can think of get ahold of some (e.g., Cornelius, Matthew McConaughey), safety will be a key feature lacking in their interactions, and mercury the root of many a 911 call.

Here are some fun facts about mercury:

  • It is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature. So basically, calling it "liquid mercury" is redundant, as the conditions under which it is not liquid are more rare than those under which it is.
  • Its solidification point is about -40 degrees F. Here's a video of a guy "freezing" 575+ grams of mercury using dry ice and a martini glass. Unfortunately, this is not as cool as it sounds.
  • Mercury is commonly known as quicksilver. Hey, so are my swim trunks!
  • Some seafood is contaminated with high levels of mercury and if you eat too much of it, it will wack you out and maybe cause desquamation, aka molting like a snake.

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