Mercury(II) nitrate

From Sciencemadness Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Mercury(II) nitrate
Mercury(II) nitrate by NileRed.jpg
Nearly dry mercury(II) nitrate
Names
IUPAC name
Mercury(II) nitrate
Other names
Citrine ointment
Mercuric nitrate
Millon's reagent
Properties
Hg(NO3)2
Molar mass 324.60 g/mol (anhydrous)
Appearance White solid
Odor Odorless
Density 4.3 g/cm3 (monohydrate)
Melting point monohydrate
79 °C (174 °F; 352 K)
Boiling point Decomposes
Soluble
Solubility Soluble in acetone, ammonia, nitric acid
Insoluble in alcohol
Vapor pressure ~0 mmHg
Hazards
Safety data sheet Sigma-Aldrich (monohydrate)
Flash point Non-flammable
Related compounds
Related compounds
Mercury(II) chloride
Mercury(II) sulfate
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Mercury(II) nitrate (Hg(NO3)2) is a very toxic white soluble crystalline mercury(II) salt of nitric acid. It was used in the past to treat fur to make felt in a process called "carroting". The phrase 'mad as a hatter' is associated with psychological illness brought on by excessive exposure to mercury(II) nitrate.

Properties

Chemical

Mercury(II) nitrate decomposes when heated, releasing nitrogen dioxide and oxygen.

Physical

Mercury(II) nitrate is a white solid, soluble in water and nitric acid.

Availability

Mercury(II) nitrate is sold by chemical suppliers, however, due to its hazards it's extremely difficult to get hold of.

The sale of mercury(II) nitrate, like most mercury compounds, is restricted in many countries due to it's great toxicity. Its sale in EU is banned without a proper hazardous substance permit.

Preparation

Mercury(II) nitrate can be prepared by reacting elemental mercury with concentrated nitric acid. Heat speeds up the reaction.

4 HNO3 + Hg → Hg(NO3)2 + 2 NO2 + 2 H2O

To dry it, the solution is gently heated until the compound solidifies. Do not heat it too high as it will decompose.

If diluted nitric acid is used instead, mercury(I) nitrate will be formed.

Projects

Handling

Safety

Mercury(II) nitrate is extremely toxic. It can absorb through skin. Wear proper protection when handling the compound.

Storage

Mercury(II) nitrate should be stored in closed bottles, with a proper label, indicating it's a dangerous compound. Plastic (PE or PP) bottlers are ideal, as they will not break if they're dropped on a hard surface, like the floor.

Disposal

Mercury(II) nitrate should be converted to an insoluble form, such as mercury sulfide then taken to hazardous waste disposal centers.

References

Relevant Sciencemadness threads