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View Full Version : WTB Liquid Mercury/Quicksilver



flylo
05-14-2017, 07:51 AM
Probably 5# or whatever you have & yes I know to be careful & have used it before. Thanks!

IanParkin
05-14-2017, 07:53 AM
Shame that
I have 20 lbs that I'm wanting rid of
Posting may be an issue

Ian

ikdor
05-14-2017, 09:00 AM
Just to entertain our curiosity, what are you planning to do with it? Build a vacuum pump?

Andre3127
05-14-2017, 09:12 AM
Just to entertain our curiosity, what are you planning to do with it? Build a vacuum pump?
Codys lab made a video about one. It's very slow, but highly energy efficient and can pull a "vacuum" equal to the vapor pressure of mercury.

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6PTsocket
05-14-2017, 12:14 PM
Probably 5# or whatever you have & yes I know to be careful & have used it before. Thanks!
They used to use it to smooth felt hats. The mercury did brain damage. That is where the expression " mad as a hatter" comes from and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

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ikdor
05-14-2017, 01:12 PM
I doubt that flylo is starting a hat shop......

6PTsocket
05-14-2017, 01:55 PM
I doubt that flylo is starting a hat shop......
I never suggested that he was; just that mercury toxicity is so well known that it has entered into the idiom. It's use has been substituted for something else almost everywhere it was used. It is however, still used in florescent bulbs. There is a tiny little bead of it rolling around loose and it vaporizes to get the lamp started. LEDs are replacing florescents

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garyhlucas
05-14-2017, 02:02 PM
A big use was in amalgam for tooth fillings. Likely half of older Americans have a mouthful.

Frank K
05-14-2017, 02:28 PM
A big use was in amalgam for tooth fillings. Likely half of older Americans have a mouthful.

My dentist, who is fairly young, will still do amalgam fillings upon request in areas that are not cosmetically significant. However they come prepackaged in a crushable container so that there is no exposure to liquid mercury.

danlb
05-14-2017, 04:06 PM
Probably refining gold.

Dan

Seastar
05-14-2017, 04:21 PM
I'll bet he is building a bomb.
It's used to refine unobtanium.
Bill

JoeLee
05-14-2017, 04:33 PM
They used to use it to smooth felt hats. The mercury did brain damage. That is where the expression " mad as a hatter" comes from and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk I've heard of that before but I always wondered how do they smooth a felt hat with mercury ?? Rub it all over the hat with bare hands ??

JoeLee
05-14-2017, 04:37 PM
My dentist, who is fairly young, will still do amalgam fillings upon request in areas that are not cosmetically significant. However they come prepackaged in a crushable container so that there is no exposure to liquid mercury.

I always wondered about this also.... so after the mercury is mixed and it hardens in your tooth , it's no longer toxic right??

macona
05-14-2017, 05:07 PM
I always wondered about this also.... so after the mercury is mixed and it hardens in your tooth , it's no longer toxic right??

Its an amalgam and does not separate from the "alloy". And metallic mercury is not really that big of a deal, it is the compounds of mercury that are really bad. Metallic mercury has a biological half-life of about 15 days. Constant exposure like hatters and miners are exposed to is not good but occasional exposure it not likely to do anything to you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvVaaZ21C44

PStechPaul
05-14-2017, 05:16 PM
I got rid of a plastic jar with probably 5-10 pounds of Hg many years ago. It was in a box with some standard cells and other old calibration equipment I found in the scrap pile at a Hamfest (IIRC). I still have a few standard cells which contain some mercury as well as cadmium and acid and other nasty stuff, but probably not enough to be worthwhile.

When I took the jar to the local landfill that handles toxic materials (such as asbestos shingles), they seemed horrified and would not take it. I took it back home and they sent a hazmat truck to put it in a sealed plastic bucket and take it away. People seem to be freaked out about mercury and even metallic lead, but I was surprised by the reaction of the people at the landfill.

flylo
05-14-2017, 05:36 PM
Just checked the site saw the 2 pages of posts & thought I'd have 20#s by now. Lets have a contest What's flylo going to do with mercury? Winner gets bragging rights. I know about mad hatters disease & the moratorium is over on asbestos you can use it as long as it's encapsulated even in shingles & brake pads but I doubt they do, maybe to build lathes in china.

macona
05-14-2017, 05:54 PM
Recoil reducers for rifles?

flylo
05-14-2017, 06:21 PM
Nope

Paul Alciatore
05-14-2017, 07:02 PM
Why were you surprised at their reaction. "People at the land fill" is about synonymous with trash collector. Not exactly a college degree job. They were probably were given a list of hazardous substances that they were not to allow into the land fill and instructions on what to do when someone arrived with them. These instructions came from their supervisors who are civil service workers, also not exactly a college degree job. With the exception of a handful of large cities, I doubt that there is anyone in a county or city government who is a real expert in hazardous substances and their actual dangers.

Not trying to put anyone down, they are just trying to do their jobs in the best manner that they know.




I got rid of a plastic jar with probably 5-10 pounds of Hg many years ago. It was in a box with some standard cells and other old calibration equipment I found in the scrap pile at a Hamfest (IIRC). I still have a few standard cells which contain some mercury as well as cadmium and acid and other nasty stuff, but probably not enough to be worthwhile.

When I took the jar to the local landfill that handles toxic materials (such as asbestos shingles), they seemed horrified and would not take it. I took it back home and they sent a hazmat truck to put it in a sealed plastic bucket and take it away. People seem to be freaked out about mercury and even metallic lead, but I was surprised by the reaction of the people at the landfill.

Mcgyver
05-14-2017, 07:34 PM
Not trying to put anyone down, they are just trying to do their jobs in the best manner that they know.

I don't think its putting anyone down...99.9% of the population would react the same. I'm sadly too mature (almost) but it would be fun to leave it on the door step, tell them the nutrino concentration force is almost in the red, act quickly to unparticalate it, you've got about 5 minutes.


We're the odd lot that makes any effort to learn about stuff like that.

bhowden
05-14-2017, 08:03 PM
I knew a fellow that was down on his luck and living at the Salvation Army. He was an ex gold miner and had about 20 pounds of mercury in a steel container designed for it. Somebody saw it and reported it. The police blocked off the entire block and evacuated it (down town city block) Lot of police and fire trucks. End result was he lost his mercury and got kicked out. You would think somebody there would have known the real risks and how to deal with the situation sensibly.

Brian

RB211
05-14-2017, 08:28 PM
My guess is thay he is building a testing/calibration tool for something aviation related. A vacum pump for calibrating altimeters?
Either that or he wants to rub it on his balls so they stop chaffing when he rides his bike with tights on.

brian Rupnow
05-14-2017, 08:28 PM
Prior to antibiotics, mercury was injected into the penis to relieve the symptoms of venereal disease. Yow!! Just thinking about that one makes me quiver all over!!!

Rich Carlstedt
05-14-2017, 08:58 PM
It's also used in a manometer for balancing multiple carburetors on old cars.
The hysteria over mercury coincides with lack of true scientific knowledge and facts .
Should it be spilled, sprinkle some tin or zinc powder and the mercury will immediately amalgamate, and become inert
But then you would not need 12,000 Hazmat employees
It's a perfect example of the "Chicken little Syndrome "
I am surprised that people shake hands with those who smoke cigarettes- wow, maybe they will get hand cancer ....

Rich

Seastar
05-14-2017, 09:02 PM
Brian
I hope you don't think Flylo is injecting Himself.

You can make a highly accurate altimeter with mercury.
All it takes is a clear tube, usually glass, bent into a "u" shape and Mercury.
That's why barometric pressure is measured in "inches of mercury" in aircraft and weather reporting.

mickeyf
05-14-2017, 09:05 PM
But 20lbs would make the mother of all altimeters, no?

Dr. Rob
05-14-2017, 09:09 PM
Fire gilding.

PStechPaul
05-14-2017, 09:44 PM
Reflector telescope lens?

rohart
05-14-2017, 09:46 PM
I remember playing with the stuff as a kid at home and at school. I said I didn't think it had affected me. I also said this on a thread Evan was posting on. He told me I'd probably lost my mental powers without knowing it. Not very kind, I thought.

Mike Amick
05-14-2017, 11:00 PM
IanParkin - I've PMed you.

He told me I'd probably lost my mental powers without knowing it. Not very kind, I thought.

Nature or Evan ?

garyhlucas
05-14-2017, 11:06 PM
Our town had a sudden increase in mercury at the wastewater plant. They spent $30k to find the source since they were violating their discharge permit. Turned out a building owner in the center of town converted some old dentist offices into new apartments and when then started using the old drains again it flushed out the mercury. Charged the guy for the search too.

RichR
05-14-2017, 11:16 PM
I am surprised that people shake hands with those who smoke cigarettes- wow, maybe they will get hand cancer ....

That's because they are to busy worrying about catching a case of "avocado hand".

Danl
05-14-2017, 11:22 PM
I remember playing with liquid mercury as a child. If I'd had any clue how hazardous it was, I would not have wanted to be in the same zip code it was in. My GOSH, that stuff is dangerous.

Just looking at it can give your eyes cancer, the interweb tells me. Sheesh, whooda thunk.


Dan

Yow Ling
05-15-2017, 03:33 AM
I stopped giving it to the grandchildren to play with , they never brought it all back

big job
05-15-2017, 06:39 AM
We use to flick that stuff around in science class in the 50's I'm still here

jhovel
05-15-2017, 07:11 AM
Metallic mercury is pretty harmless. Mercury vapour over long periods of time is somewhat potentially risky.
Mercury salts are much more dangerous - and not really obvious. Hat felters used one of the salts I believe to make rabbit hairs stick to each other. Ingesting that by not washing their hands and getting it on their clothes what made them eventually sick...... I have never heard of gold refiners getting sick over lifetimes using metallic mercury. I live in a gold mining town....

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IanParkin
05-15-2017, 07:24 AM
To flylo
daguerreotypes ?

which is why I wanted/got it

mars-red
05-15-2017, 08:29 AM
Just checked the site saw the 2 pages of posts & thought I'd have 20#s by now. Lets have a contest What's flylo going to do with mercury? Winner gets bragging rights. I know about mad hatters disease & the moratorium is over on asbestos you can use it as long as it's encapsulated even in shingles & brake pads but I doubt they do, maybe to build lathes in china.

I've read that a mercury quench is "ideal" (ideal technically that is, not safety-wise) for hardening high carbon steel. I think I was reading about it in the context of making plain cone bearings for machine tools in the early 1900s. I've always wanted to give it a try, but not bad enough to go through the hassle of obtaining some mercury and then the potential added hassle of the wrong person discovering it an a circus ensuing.

Flylo, is that what you're going to do with all this mercury, try it as a quenching medium?

Bill_McRae
05-15-2017, 10:26 AM
My father worked in a quarry. One time I was telling him about mercury which we were doing some experiments with in school in the 1960s. He told me that they used mercury in the scales for weighing trucks. There was a fair amount of mercury used since they had a couple of bottles of industrial mercury on hand for adjustment. Each bottle was about 10 lbs. Exactly how it was used though I can't remember.

DR
05-15-2017, 11:48 AM
I remember playing with liquid mercury as a child. If I'd had any clue how hazardous it was, I would not have wanted to be in the same zip code it was in. My GOSH, that stuff is dangerous.

Just looking at it can give your eyes cancer, the interweb tells me. Sheesh, whooda thunk.


Dan

In high school chemistry we played with mercury. Rubbing silver coins with mercury made them shine.

Many years later when the dangers of mercury became known I machined teflon funneling devices for a company specializing in testing for mercury in the environment. Testing for mercury seemed to be a very lucrative field.

Blackfoot
05-15-2017, 12:41 PM
flylo is going to make a lifting device

flylo
05-15-2017, 01:13 PM
Cleaning rifle barrels, getting the lead out. I target shoot as my trigger finger is about all that still works & I don't clean my barrels until accuracy starts to fall off as I think many barrels are damaged by over cleaning. You cork or seal the chamber, fill with mercury cap the muzzle & leave it for 2 hours or overnight & dump it in a plastic jar & the lead will float to the top normally in strips. No brush no fuss.

bborr01
05-15-2017, 10:48 PM
In high school chemistry we played with mercury. Rubbing silver coins with mercury made them shine.

Many years later when the dangers of mercury became known I machined teflon funneling devices for a company specializing in testing for mercury in the environment. Testing for mercury seemed to be a very lucrative field.

I figured you were going to make a mercury finish rifle or some kind of gun. I used to rub pennies with mercury and it made them look like really shiny 1943 war pennies. No ill effects that I know of from exposure to mercury.

Brian

mixdenny
05-16-2017, 01:29 AM
"They used to use it to smooth felt hats. The mercury did brain damage. That is where the expression " mad as a hatter" comes from and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland."

I've heard of that before but I always wondered how do they smooth a felt hat with mercury ?? Rub it all over the hat with bare hands ??

It is not used to smooth felt hats, almost the opposite, in fact. Mercury nitrate (I think) is applied to raw beaver pelts to raise the scales on the fur. This allows them to bind tightly to each other in the felting process. The resulting felt mats undergo several steam treatments to shrink and tighten them, and the mercury vaporizes at this point.

The highest quality beaver pelts were those worn over the winter by trappers. The months of use naturally roughen the fur and they do not need to be treated with mercury and make a superior hat.

Dennis

gambler
05-16-2017, 02:50 PM
awesome thread.:) theres plenty of mercury somewhere in my garage, she dumped the carb sticks not once but twice. now I can't buy mercury in ca. anymore.

ConductorX
05-17-2017, 09:45 AM
Several types of flow and level transmitters used pure mercury. One flow meter I worked on had 3 pounds of liquid mercury in it. Not to mention the calibration manometers that used mercury for the calibration of low range instruments.

greystone
05-17-2017, 01:49 PM
I used to think metallic lead was no big deal.

After some thread, I looked it up and changed my mind.
Apparently, metallic lead is actually very poisonous (months) as it will dissolve in the stomach/body due to acids in us.
Skin contact in light loads did not seem to much affect roofers/plumbers/divers/soldiers, in small quantities.
Any dissolvent with it is bad news, like lead in gasoline.

Does anyone actually know about metallic mercury ?

History shows us major exposure/concentrations (hatters) with the stuff will kill your brain in 20 years.
Any mercury kills anything downstream of south america/africa wildcat goldmines.

I suspect that metallic lead and mercury are pretty safe, in fleeting skin contact, unless acids/dissolvents/fumes are involved.
But my cavalier attitude to the lead diving weights changed, after reading medical reports.
Thatīs why I am asking.

After a lifetime of major-risk professions/jobs/activities with some skills, I was pretty blase about most-all stuff.

About 3 years back I read about hydrofluoric acid ...
and changed my mind really fast and permanently.

It is about like the VX gas in a Nicholas Cage movie the Rock, except it is real, and a little slower (hours to days), and cannot be stopped.
Medical lit. says major amputation is recommended upon detection.
A tiny drop seeps in finger, kills nerves (does not hurt), rots bones from inside out. Travels in body. Lovely.

Tanker-truck loads are used industrially, and travel all over the world, routinely.
I think only one major incident/accident, so far.

MattiJ
05-17-2017, 02:22 PM
I used to think metallic lead was no big deal.

After some thread, I looked it up and changed my mind.
Apparently, metallic lead is actually very poisonous (months) as it will dissolve in the stomach/body due to acids in us.
Skin contact in light loads did not seem to much affect roofers/plumbers/divers/soldiers, in small quantities.
Any dissolvent with it is bad news, like lead in gasoline.

Does anyone actually know about metallic mercury ?

History shows us major exposure/concentrations (hatters) with the stuff will kill your brain in 20 years.
Any mercury kills anything downstream of south america/africa wildcat goldmines.

I suspect that metallic lead and mercury are pretty safe, in fleeting skin contact, unless acids/dissolvents/fumes are involved.
But my cavalier attitude to the lead diving weights changed, after reading medical reports.
Thatīs why I am asking.

After a lifetime of major-risk professions/jobs/activities with some skills, I was pretty blase about most-all stuff.

About 3 years back I read about hydrofluoric acid ...
and changed my mind really fast and permanently.

It is about like the VX gas in a Nicholas Cage movie the Rock, except it is real, and a little slower (hours to days), and cannot be stopped.
Medical lit. says major amputation is recommended upon detection.
A tiny drop seeps in finger, kills nerves (does not hurt), rots bones from inside out. Travels in body. Lovely.

Tanker-truck loads are used industrially, and travel all over the world, routinely.
I think only one major incident/accident, so far.

Metallic lead and mercury are not that bad like already mentioned somewhere on this thread but when they form other compounds or organic compounds like dimethylmercury you are in trouble.
This stuff is famous for absorbing trough latex gloves in lethal quantities in just a few seconds:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethylmercury

RB211
05-17-2017, 03:17 PM
Metallic lead and mercury are not that bad like already mentioned somewhere on this thread but when they form other compounds or organic compounds like dimethylmercury you are in trouble.
This stuff is famous for absorbing trough latex gloves in lethal quantities in just a few seconds:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethylmercury

Sounds very useful for certain things.

macona
05-17-2017, 10:55 PM
For HF exposure they injext calcium gluconate into your bloodstream. The HF goes after that instead of your bones. It's not too big of a deal, HF is used in the semiconductor industry.

According to my boss at the last place I worked (Phd in medical field) there is actually no proof that lead is actually this big deal and people have just accepted that lead is a killer. I have no idea, this is just what he said.

Lee Cordochorea
05-17-2017, 11:28 PM
So, where DOES one buy mercury? (I'd like to build some inertially activated switches.)

My gess re: Flylo's project: vibration resistant platform for delicate scientific gizmo.

Lee Cordochorea
05-17-2017, 11:33 PM
For HF exposure they injext calcium gluconate into your bloodstream. The HF goes after that instead of your bones. It's not too big of a deal, HF is used in the semiconductor industry.
They use a lot of it in that big plant to the west of you - the one near Imbrie Hall. They pipe it aroud in double-walled pipes with sensors in the outer pipe. Everybody there freaks out if someone finds a few drops of sweat on the floor...

rkepler
05-18-2017, 10:30 AM
So, where DOES one buy mercury? (I'd like to build some inertially activated switches.)

My gess re: Flylo's project: vibration resistant platform for delicate scientific gizmo.

Find a Starrett #87 plumb bob that hasn't been drained. A fair amount in one of those and they're on eBay all the time.

Mcgyver
05-18-2017, 04:12 PM
Another use for mercury is floating bearings.

As young guy, i crewed on some sailboats and we'd just brought one into Hope Town after several days of straight sailing. Needless to say numerous beers were consumed and eventually four of us ended up in the early hours ((no one locks doors in Hope Town lol) sitting outside at the top of the lighthouse legs dangling over the edge drinking beers and gazing at the sea and night sky. After awhile we noticed the light had gone out!

Turns the light was via keosene flame and us leaving the catwalk door open caused a draft that blew it out. After the initial 'we better bolt' reaction we ended deciding to face the music and woke up the lighthouse keeper in his cottage. Great guy, gave us a complete tour, while we all went in to re-light the light.

Where the mercury comes in....The lighthouse is old, and the huge cast iron revolving portion floats in a half torrid bath of mercury. its many tons but revolves with almost no friction and effort. The lenses were extremely thick pieces of glass arranged like louvers and the flame kerosene. Motive power for rotation came from a crank and large large weight hanging down the centre of the lighthouse. We got to (had to penance) crank the weight up, it was hard work as I recall.

Anyway, thoughts on what to do with mercury reminded me of that 35 year old adventure. Maybe flylow is building a lighthouse?

http://i.imgur.com/U3AGCI7.png

flylo
05-18-2017, 05:09 PM
No but had sex in the top of one so it brought back 35 year old good memories for me too. :p

garagemark
05-18-2017, 06:02 PM
Where are you located in southwest Michigan (not address, just area)?

flylo
05-18-2017, 06:51 PM
Just west of Kalamazoo 4 miles off I-94 Only about 25 miles to Granger, 30 or so to Elkhart