Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Mercury sources in EU?

Refinery - 2-5-2020 at 05:56

AFAIK sale and use of mercury is restricted nowadays in EU. Is it possible to obtain it for research/chemistry purposes somehow, somewhere?

EDIT. And if sales to private persons are restricted, company front should not be an issue.

[Edited on 2-5-2020 by Refinery]

Copenhagen1968 - 2-5-2020 at 07:39

I get my mercury from old thermometers and barometers I find on flee markets or second hand shops.

I havent chekced the status about buying Hg here (DK) through shops but I suspect it is restricted:
It IS possible to acquire "dangerous/poisonous" materials as a private person, but you have to fill in a form at the local police station. I tried it once for buying sulfur powder. They dont know Sh** about chemistry so they forward it to the Environmental agency and I had an approval a month later. Sigh.

dawt - 2-5-2020 at 08:31

Agreed, old mercury thermometers and barometers are likely the way to go if you only need small amounts. You'll find the relevant restrictions in annex XVII of REACH (and Regulation (EU) 2017/852).

B(a)P - 2-5-2020 at 12:02

Mercury switches are a good source.

Refinery - 2-5-2020 at 12:19

There appears to be at least one online store that sells periodic table elements, including an ampoule of pure mercury with 50$ price tag.

Switches are indeed a source I'm aware, and so are old mercury thermometers.

In where I live, there are no forms for materials. What are restriced by EU, are, but the rest are free market, for now. Those that are EU restricted, can be bought too, though, with establishing personal company that costs about 50 bucks as well.

mackolol - 2-5-2020 at 13:38

You must know someone or company that will sell it to you. I have bought small amounts of mercury as well as mercury sulfate, just sending information what for am I gonna use it, by e mail without even sign was enough.
In Poland there are quite few sellers that openly sell mercury chloride in big quantities and they usually don't give a shit about documents or what you use it for. Although you must pay quite a bit for let's say 100g of this salt.

Bedlasky - 3-5-2020 at 09:18

I have plenty of mercury in my teeth :D.

morganbw - 3-5-2020 at 09:39

I bought a pound of Hg approx 453~454 grams several years back. This is in the usa and I believe that was the limit then. No clue about today.
I still have around 2/3 of that left.

If my memory has not failed me I think I thought "ouch" about the cost.

[Edited on 5/3/2020 by morganbw]

Sulaiman - 3-5-2020 at 10:18

If really desperate for mercury you could buy
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3mm-5mm-Mercury-Switch-Tilt-Vibra...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-Accoson-Sphygmomanometer/...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Quicksilver-for-BAROMETER-restora...



Ubya - 3-5-2020 at 12:44

or find a source of cinnabar, and distilling mercury from it

Refinery - 3-5-2020 at 13:22

Obtaining small amounts appears rather uncomplicated, even easy.

If one needs it in order of kg's or liters, at least cost will become prohibitive.

woelen - 4-5-2020 at 00:57

The switches actually are quite good sources of pure mercury. I purchased 100 pieces of 6 mm switches from China for appr. EUR 20. These contain a nice blob of mercury (I estimate them to be a few hundreds of mg per switch). Nice for small-scale experiments. I dissolve such a small blob in some HNO3 and then dilute it. These switches also keep the mercury safely stored. No fear of vapors and they are quite strong, no need to fear accidental breaking and spilling mercury.

RadicallyStabilized - 4-5-2020 at 03:37

Quote: Originally posted by morganbw  

If my memory has not failed me I think I thought "ouch" about the cost.


Isn't memory failure a symptom of mercury poisoning? /scnr

On topic: labchem.de if you know German. See "Quecksilber" (100 g for 37 €). No shipping to private addresses though.

Refinery - 4-5-2020 at 06:44

Quote: Originally posted by woelen  
No fear of vapors and they are quite strong, no need to fear accidental breaking and spilling mercury.


How do you break the switch ampoules to extract the mercury without mess?

woelen - 4-5-2020 at 09:41

I put them in a little beaker (50 ml) and simply crush them with the back side of a clean and sturdy screw driver. Then with a pair of tweezers I pick the two legs of the switch and remove these. I leave the glass at the bottom and then I add the acid. Once, all mercury has dissolved, I add some water, swirl till the solution is homogeneous and then decant the liquid from the glass into another little beaker. A second rinse with a little water collects the last remains of mercury nitrate. The glass remains behind and can be discarded.

Refinery - 4-5-2020 at 14:04

Sounds good. I was originally thinking of collecting the mercury but like you said, it's well stored in these ampoules and dosed for use.

karlos³ - 4-5-2020 at 14:40

Huh, is onyxmet not selling it anymore?

B(a)P - 4-5-2020 at 15:04

Quote: Originally posted by woelen  
I put them in a little beaker (50 ml) and simply crush them with the back side of a clean and sturdy screw driver. Then with a pair of tweezers I pick the two legs of the switch and remove these. I leave the glass at the bottom and then I add the acid. Once, all mercury has dissolved, I add some water, swirl till the solution is homogeneous and then decant the liquid from the glass into another little beaker. A second rinse with a little water collects the last remains of mercury nitrate. The glass remains behind and can be discarded.


This is a good approach. I hold them by the wire legs over the top of something that will contain the mercury in the event the whole thing shatters. Then snip the end of the glass 'ampule' with some side cutters. I can then simply tip the contents into a beaker. The ones I use contain about 300 mg of mercury.

SM1035-spst-mercury-switchImageMain-515.jpg - 32kB

Johnny Windchimes - 12-5-2020 at 15:31

If you can get a hold of Cinnabar (HgS), you can give this process a go. I have had good luck with it.

Cinnabar can be found on eBay but its pricey. Alibaba is your best bet.

1000 grams of Cinnabar yields about 862 grams of metallic Mercury.:o


This patent is way way way easier and cleaner than the methods using Aluminum for reduction (a la' NileRed's video) IMO. Just don't forget to oxidize the trace metals found in the cinnabar (although most cinnabar is ironically made FROM elemental mercury and is not natural, so hence contains respectively few heavy metal impurities). See NileRed's video for his potassium permanganate method for tidying up the impurities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e78I9_oH1E



Attachment: US1718103 - Cinnabar electrolysis to Hg - Copy.pdf (213kB)
This file has been downloaded 190 times

Stoichiometry for Hg via Electrolysis of HgS (Cinnabar) - Copy.png - 60kB



[Edited on 12-5-2020 by Johnny Windchimes]

Herr Haber - 13-5-2020 at 03:30

Just get it from Spain !

You can get 35kg drums no questions asked.

Most of EU cinnabar mines are in Spain. Several international mining companies (Rio Tinto, British despite the name) had their HQ in Spain for decades or centuries.
There is mercury litterally everywhere.

Johnny Windchimes - 13-5-2020 at 08:56

Quote: Originally posted by Herr Haber  
Just get it from Spain !

You can get 35kg drums no questions asked.

Most of EU cinnabar mines are in Spain......



Tell me more salesman, have a few links or leads? A quick google search unfortunately doesn't come up with barrels of cinnabar for sale from Spain:(

FranzAnton - 13-5-2020 at 14:15

Hm, I am not sure if you can get the sulfide without "question" at least I was not successful, but if you don't need too much you can check for "Erkameter"
These are old Hg based blood pressure meter which were eventaully sold with a nice price (I got 2 with each for 30€ in Austria) such an Erkameter contains about 2.5 cm³ not cheap but far better than switches or thermometer. Sometimes you are lucky and find a toricelli barometer for 50-80 bugs contains
about 10-15 cm³ depending on the model.
If you can find an old Hg rectifier you can be happy until end of your life :)

[Edited on 13-5-2020 by FranzAnton]
Maybe another idea. Some tooth docters still use it for amalgam inlays. So if you know such a doc in privat you can ask if he can order some for you in the dental depot. Google for dental mercury pls.

[Edited on 13-5-2020 by FranzAnton]

Herr Haber - 14-5-2020 at 06:24

Quote: Originally posted by Johnny Windchimes  
Quote: Originally posted by Herr Haber  
Just get it from Spain !

You can get 35kg drums no questions asked.

Most of EU cinnabar mines are in Spain......



Tell me more salesman, have a few links or leads? A quick google search unfortunately doesn't come up with barrels of cinnabar for sale from Spain:(


Google: "comprar mercurio"
Returns more than enough results both in Spain and South America.

Just have a look at this link:
https://www.milanuncios.com/minerales-de-coleccion/mercurio....

Some is dirty, some is clean. Prices vary wildly but are still better than what I'd get from a regular suplier.
Of the 22 offers on this page 21 are from individuals who most certainly will not care who they sell to.
The one professional has 4 pallets of 25 containers weighting each 34.5 kilograms.

You have to understand that you'll find these offers *all the time* so if the price, purity or quantity is not what you are looking for just come back a month later.
As mercury was abundant in Spain it is quite common when a relative passes away to see the relatives getting rid of the mercury at very low prices. In the link I provided you can see three 11kg steel containers.
Judging by their look they are decades old.

Edit: just saw one offer at 80 Eu / Kg
Good luck beating that ;)

[Edited on 14-5-2020 by Herr Haber]