Playing with mercury

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TimW
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by TimW » Fri Jun 10, 2022 8:38 pm

Trinucleus wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 7:47 pm
Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 7:12 pm
You are not allowed to own mercury now.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... n#fulllist
Boooo
It just says "Regulated" so probly no big deal.

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Gfamily
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by Gfamily » Fri Jun 10, 2022 8:44 pm

TimW wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 8:38 pm
Trinucleus wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 7:47 pm
Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 7:12 pm
You are not allowed to own mercury now.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... n#fulllist
Boooo
It just says "Regulated" so probly no big deal.
I think that means you need a licence from the SoS
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
Meta? I'd say so!

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basementer
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by basementer » Fri Jun 10, 2022 8:54 pm

TimW wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 8:38 pm
Trinucleus wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 7:47 pm
Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 7:12 pm
You are not allowed to own mercury now.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... n#fulllist
Boooo
It just says "Regulated" so probly no big deal.
By that, it means it's a substance that can only be sold to a person who presents the appropriate licence.
Money is just a substitute for luck anyway. - Tom Siddell

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TimW
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by TimW » Fri Jun 10, 2022 9:00 pm

Well there you go then. If you own some you're free to dice with death.

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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri Jun 10, 2022 11:08 pm

I have about a kilo of the stuff, in a glass stoppered bottle with a ground glass cover. But as I don't have the appropriate license it be comes a problem for my children.
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by Millennie Al » Sat Jun 11, 2022 1:51 am

tenchboy wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 8:41 am
Oh and don't use aluminium: the mercury wins (the reason thermometers are discouraged on aeroplanes) (unless that's a myth too)
Yo can see many demonstrations on Youtube. e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrdYueB9pY4

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TimW
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by TimW » Sat Jun 11, 2022 8:03 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 11:08 pm
I have about a kilo of the stuff, in a glass stoppered bottle with a ground glass cover. But as I don't have the appropriate license it be comes a problem for my children.
What sort of problem?

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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by border_reiver » Sun Jun 12, 2022 3:36 pm

Our science teacher at secondary school - around 1970, knocked over a bottle of mercury on the lab bench. He was a man with a very short temper and became more and more enraged as he tried to gather it up whilst it just kept splitting and reforming. We obviously thought this was great entertainment.

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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by FlammableFlower » Mon Jun 13, 2022 8:04 am

When I started my PhD mercury thermometers were common, so breakages and spills were also common. The high-vacuum trolley pumps used mercury tilt pressure gauges which also then game great opportunities for getting mercury where it wasn't supposed to be. You used to be able to get special mercury spill kits - it was a special sponge attached to the lid of a pot that screwed down into a pot with a grated/riddled section so when you put the lid back on it forced the mercury out of the sponge into the pot.

Here's one: https://www.coleparmer.co.uk/i/sciencew ... te/0670600

NB - for some air-sensitive chemistry with schlenk-line techniques being used, people still use mercury in the outlet bubblers, for when you really don't want oxygen getting back into the system...

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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by science_fox » Mon Jun 13, 2022 8:11 am

Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 11:08 pm
I have about a kilo of the stuff, in a glass stoppered bottle with a ground glass cover. But as I don't have the appropriate license it be comes a problem for my children.
That's a lot, although it's quite dense so I guess not actually a huge volume.
I'm not afraid of catching Covid, I'm afraid of catching idiot.

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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by basementer » Mon Jun 13, 2022 8:31 am

science_fox wrote:
Mon Jun 13, 2022 8:11 am
Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Jun 10, 2022 11:08 pm
I have about a kilo of the stuff, in a glass stoppered bottle with a ground glass cover. But as I don't have the appropriate license it be comes a problem for my children.
That's a lot, although it's quite dense so I guess not actually a huge volume.
I have 13.7 in mind, so if my memory is correct, 70 ml or 2 1/2 fluid ounces. An eighth of a pint.
Money is just a substitute for luck anyway. - Tom Siddell

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Re: Playing with Phospherous

Post by tenchboy » Mon Jun 13, 2022 12:52 pm

Yergo my lovelies, as mentioned above.
Image (4).jpg
Image (4).jpg (654.31 KiB) Viewed 450 times
ETA t'were in the "Things To Make & Do" section, not "Wonder" as mentioned above.

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Re: Playing with rubidium

Post by IvanV » Mon Jun 13, 2022 1:47 pm

Rubidium is not very well known. It is an alkali metal, next following lithium, sodium and potassium (1 T 2 Ss)* as you go down the left hand column of the periodic table. So it is even more reactive than potassium.

For some unknown reason, the chemistry dept at the school I went to had some metallic rubidium in its chemical store. About a fist-sized lump, I understand, kept in a jar under some suitably inert oxygen-excluding liquid, as one also keeps metallic sodium and potassium. I don't know why they had some rubidium. It doesn't turn up in any demonstrations on the syllabus, not even in the happy-go-lucky days of 1970s chemistry lessons before they got all health-and-safety over such things. Maybe some chemistry teacher just went, ooh, look, we can buy some rubidium, for much the same reasons as motivated what then happened.

Unfortunately said chemistry teachers would show off about how they had a fist-sized lump of rubidium in the tech store. Usually mentioned as they were dropping some potassium (1 T two Ss) into a washing tub of water, so you could see it catch fire with a coloured flame as it fizzed around the surface of the water, a demonstration I think put on for first or second year students (what you'd call Y7 or Y8 these days). Many students then doubtless thought to themselves, if it was fun seeing the potassium (1 T 2 Ss) drop into the bowl of water, how much more fun would it be to drop the rubidium into some water!

Some students discovered that the tech room, having 3 doors, did not always have all doors locked. You could routinely get into the school unsupervised from a good hour or 90 mins before it started - indeed the school library was routinely open from 50 mins before assembly for anyone to finish off their homework if they wished, and various 6th form common rooms were also open early. Students would come in early to work on theatre sets, have music lessons, play cards, and, if in the 6th form, drink tea and read the papers. So, eventually, some students discovered the potential to access the rubidium. They then acquired about 2.5m of plastic guttering, and took it to the chemistry department one early morning. They rigged it up in one of the adjacent labs to roll the rubidium down the guttering into a tank of water, realising sensibly (the only sensible thought they had) that they would probably want to be standing very well back. It exploded rather more vigorously than they had anticipated, bringing down part of the ceiling in the lab above the explosion, and starting a small fire, which fortunately remained contained. It's a concrete building and there isn't much to burn.

There were certain sinks in the senior chemistry lab which drained rather slowly as a result of the plaster that had got into them from the parts of the ceiling coming down, and some permanent discolouration on other parts of ceiling near the bit which had come down and got replaced.

*I always think of potassium as potassium (1 T 2 Ss) as that is what my chemistry teacher always called it, so you never forgot.

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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by basementer » Mon Jun 13, 2022 3:42 pm

Alternatively, there are twelve Ps and seven Ss in Potassium -
1s22s22p63s23p64s1
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Aitch
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by Aitch » Mon Jun 13, 2022 4:58 pm

There's quite a good, if old, OU item on alkali metals and water...
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by bjn » Mon Jun 13, 2022 7:43 pm

Aitch wrote:
Mon Jun 13, 2022 4:58 pm
There's quite a good, if old, OU item on alkali metals and water...
"We see that they gradually become more terrifying as we progress down the periodic table." :lol:

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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by jaap » Mon Jun 13, 2022 8:39 pm

bjn wrote:
Mon Jun 13, 2022 7:43 pm
Aitch wrote:
Mon Jun 13, 2022 4:58 pm
There's quite a good, if old, OU item on alkali metals and water...
"We see that they gradually become more terrifying as we progress down the periodic table." :lol:
Except that it is not entirely true, which is why Brainiac faked some of their explosions:
https://edu.rsc.org/analysis/alkali-met ... 08.article

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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by tenchboy » Mon Jun 13, 2022 9:10 pm

I seem to remember Mike Bulivant doing an excellent new version of the same in the ?nineties and shown on mainstream television but can't find it just now on t'tube.
There was also one on gasses in which he was sitting on the edge of a high building and the various gas filled balloons floated off, stayed where they were or fell to the ground as he released them.

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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by dyqik » Mon Jun 13, 2022 9:26 pm

I've got some rubidium - in a frequency reference.

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Re: Playing with rubidium

Post by WFJ » Tue Jun 14, 2022 8:39 am

IvanV wrote:
Mon Jun 13, 2022 1:47 pm
Rubidium is not very well known. It is an alkali metal, next following lithium, sodium and potassium (1 T 2 Ss)* as you go down the left hand column of the periodic table. So it is even more reactive than potassium.

For some unknown reason ...
I think most schools have similar urban legends that are passed around after seeing the potassium demonstration. At our school it involved a group of students throwing it in the lake close to the school.

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Rich Scopie
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by Rich Scopie » Tue Jun 14, 2022 9:15 am

You've probably seen this film of the disposal of metallic sodium, but always worth another go... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY7mTCMvpEM

(Approx 20,000lb)
It first was a rumour dismissed as a lie, but then came the evidence none could deny:
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by Trinucleus » Tue Jun 14, 2022 3:19 pm

Rich Scopie wrote:
Tue Jun 14, 2022 9:15 am
You've probably seen this film of the disposal of metallic sodium, but always worth another go... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY7mTCMvpEM

(Approx 20,000lb)
I hope no one went swimming after that

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Re: Playing with rubidium

Post by Grumble » Thu Jun 16, 2022 8:10 am

IvanV wrote:
Mon Jun 13, 2022 1:47 pm
Rubidium is not very well known. It is an alkali metal, next following lithium, sodium and potassium (1 T 2 Ss)* as you go down the left hand column of the periodic table. So it is even more reactive than potassium.

For some unknown reason, the chemistry dept at the school I went to had some metallic rubidium in its chemical store. About a fist-sized lump, I understand, kept in a jar under some suitably inert oxygen-excluding liquid, as one also keeps metallic sodium and potassium. I don't know why they had some rubidium. It doesn't turn up in any demonstrations on the syllabus, not even in the happy-go-lucky days of 1970s chemistry lessons before they got all health-and-safety over such things. Maybe some chemistry teacher just went, ooh, look, we can buy some rubidium, for much the same reasons as motivated what then happened.

Unfortunately said chemistry teachers would show off about how they had a fist-sized lump of rubidium in the tech store. Usually mentioned as they were dropping some potassium (1 T two Ss) into a washing tub of water, so you could see it catch fire with a coloured flame as it fizzed around the surface of the water, a demonstration I think put on for first or second year students (what you'd call Y7 or Y8 these days). Many students then doubtless thought to themselves, if it was fun seeing the potassium (1 T 2 Ss) drop into the bowl of water, how much more fun would it be to drop the rubidium into some water!

Some students discovered that the tech room, having 3 doors, did not always have all doors locked. You could routinely get into the school unsupervised from a good hour or 90 mins before it started - indeed the school library was routinely open from 50 mins before assembly for anyone to finish off their homework if they wished, and various 6th form common rooms were also open early. Students would come in early to work on theatre sets, have music lessons, play cards, and, if in the 6th form, drink tea and read the papers. So, eventually, some students discovered the potential to access the rubidium. They then acquired about 2.5m of plastic guttering, and took it to the chemistry department one early morning. They rigged it up in one of the adjacent labs to roll the rubidium down the guttering into a tank of water, realising sensibly (the only sensible thought they had) that they would probably want to be standing very well back. It exploded rather more vigorously than they had anticipated, bringing down part of the ceiling in the lab above the explosion, and starting a small fire, which fortunately remained contained. It's a concrete building and there isn't much to burn.

There were certain sinks in the senior chemistry lab which drained rather slowly as a result of the plaster that had got into them from the parts of the ceiling coming down, and some permanent discolouration on other parts of ceiling near the bit which had come down and got replaced.

*I always think of potassium as potassium (1 T 2 Ss) as that is what my chemistry teacher always called it, so you never forgot.
“Some students” ;)
A bit churlish

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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by Sciolus » Thu Jun 16, 2022 6:11 pm

Trinucleus wrote:
Tue Jun 14, 2022 3:19 pm
Rich Scopie wrote:
Tue Jun 14, 2022 9:15 am
You've probably seen this film of the disposal of metallic sodium, but always worth another go... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY7mTCMvpEM

(Approx 20,000lb)
I hope no one went swimming after that
Ah, the days when "eliminating a hazard" meant dumping it somewhere else.

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Grumble
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Re: Playing with mercury

Post by Grumble » Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:01 am

Sciolus wrote:
Thu Jun 16, 2022 6:11 pm
Trinucleus wrote:
Tue Jun 14, 2022 3:19 pm
Rich Scopie wrote:
Tue Jun 14, 2022 9:15 am
You've probably seen this film of the disposal of metallic sodium, but always worth another go... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY7mTCMvpEM

(Approx 20,000lb)
I hope no one went swimming after that
Ah, the days when "eliminating a hazard" meant dumping it somewhere else.
In days gone by the Springfields Nuclear bonfire night party was a good time to bring out the drum full of magnesium shavings and offcuts for a spectacular fire.
A bit churlish

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