The Quicksilver


Chemistry I
October 25, 1996

One day an ancient alchemist was sitting at his and noticed a strange
silvery liquid-like metal. He called several of his colleagues over to admire it.
It was passed down through the years, this chemical reaction, that formed this
"Quicksilver" as the alchemists called it. One day a French chemist Antoine
Laurent Lavoisier tested and proclaimed it a metal. And he named it Mercury
(Hg). With strong controversy from scientists around the world, Lavoisier was
never given credit until after his death.. During the late nineteenth century
and early twentieth is when a significant amount of work went into developing a
good use to mercury- thermometers. Before people had been developing
thermometers but they were not as accurate as the ones produced around 1900.
In the later twentieth century people developed a increasing "need" for
pure gold and silver. European and American scientists developed a new advanced
way for this- amalgams. Amalgams are alloys of mercury usually used to extract
elements from there various ores. Then, once the common metal is extracted
mercury is then separated through distillation.
Without mercury our world would be much different. We would have
different, if any, ways of determining temperature. Mercury is also used in
cleaning modern day swimming pools as "Mercury Vapor lamps" for sterilization.
Mercury can be used in both reconstructing and destroying life in water ways
depending upon the attention people give it. We would have no fast, economical
ways of cleaning large pools; no fast, economical way of controlling river
clean-ups. Life in our modern day households would be much, much colder because
we would have no way of having a auto-start heater- people would have to turn on
their heater manually. Yet we would also need to look at the positive side of no
mercury. We would have little, if any at all, severe river life loss, therefore
little need for the time and effort we spend clearing our water of mercury
contamination.

Category: Science