Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Elemental Mercury from cinnabar

hasani10 - 17-1-2019 at 06:53

I recently tried to make elemental mercury by chemically reducing it. By making a polysulfide complex with HgS and then reduction with aluminium. When i tried this i must have not actually made a polysulfide solution so when i added the aluminium (stupidly in powder form) there was no reaction.

I would like to filter off the powder HgS and Al and try this reaction again but i want to separate the Al from the HgS first to stop a runaway reaction when i try it again. Is this necessary?

I was thinking of reacting the powder with sulfuric acid; HgS would have no reaction and the Al would react to produce soluble Al2(SO4)3, i could then filter off pure HgS from the solution. Would this work?

Sorry in advance if this is the wrong space to post this question this is the first experience i've had with the forum.

Thanks :)

fusso - 17-1-2019 at 07:04

Wow that was the longest duration between register time and 1st post i've ever seen:o

Amos - 17-1-2019 at 07:07

red mercury(II) sulfide, natural or artificial, is well-known for its extreme inertness to acids and bases; it can even be swallowed and safely passed without substantial mercury absorption. I'd suggest getting rid of the aluminium with some dilute NaOH solution, which in my experience seems to react a lot faster and more completely than acids. Maybe you could try roasting the cinnabar with an oxygen supply or oxidizing agent at high temperature to distill the vapor out? Definitely not inside your domicile?

hasani10 - 17-1-2019 at 07:52

ahah yeah i've just been using the forums to look at other projects and ideas up until now.

Thanks Amos dilute NaOH seems like a much easier way to go than sulfuric acid. I'm going to go through a chemical method as opposed to a thermal method because i don't want to deal with mercury vapor AT ALL! Chemical method creates more waste but i can dispose of this safely so that doesn't bother me.

Ubya - 17-1-2019 at 07:53

use sodium hydroxide or sulphuric acid, cinnabar is pretty much inert to common aqueous chemistry. once the Al is removed dry the HgS and heat it in a closed metal retort (you canget the idea from Cody's Lab) HgS will decompose and you can distill mercury metal

S.C. Wack - 17-1-2019 at 16:14

Has anybody tried distilling Hg from HgS and Al dust?

Mr. Rogers - 18-1-2019 at 20:12

Quote:
Has anybody tried distilling Hg from HgS and Al dust?


I have some HgS, but this stuff was *really* expensive!! (it's the most expensive chemical I've ever purchased). I can get elemental Hg much cheaper. I'd love to find a source for reasonably priced HgS.

[Edited on 19-1-2019 by Mr. Rogers]

unionised - 19-1-2019 at 06:21

Quote: Originally posted by Mr. Rogers  
I'd love to find a source for reasonably priced HgS.

[Edited on 19-1-2019 by Mr. Rogers]

Well, there's the reaction between sulphur and mercury...

S.C. Wack - 19-1-2019 at 09:54

I suspect that some of the cinnabar on ebay that sells for ~50 cents/gram from China is actually genuine vermilion, given their history of making and selling it.

PS I do not suggest a pile of Al with a bunch of pure HgS without investigating the potential for something extreme/uncontrolled/toxic cloud happening.

[Edited on 19-1-2019 by S.C. Wack]

Sulaiman - 19-1-2019 at 11:51

I recently received 2g cinnabar for £0.99
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2g-Natural-Red-Cinnabar-Single-Cr...
I have no need of it / I don't mind using it.
If anyone is interested in cinnabar from this seller then I can test my sample.

Any suggestions for an assay (using simple hobby chemistry) ?

Tellurium - 19-1-2019 at 12:31

Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  

Any suggestions for an assay (using simple hobby chemistry) ?

First thing, that I would look for is the density, cinnabar should have quite a high density of 8,1. Also I would try breaking one of the stones, because maybe they are just colored rocks:D
Also in a mixture of hot aqueous NaOH and elemental sulfur the HgS should dissolve.

[Edited on 19-1-2019 by Tellurium]

Sulaiman - 19-1-2019 at 15:43

Slightly annoying ... I can't think of a method of measuring the density of this 2g sample as I have no equipment to measure small volumes.
My 300g x 0.01g scales should be ok for c2g +/- 1%
... brain dead ... help
_________________________________________________
Edit : Is HgS soluble in sodium polysulphide (I have some) or must it be 'fresh'

[Edited on 19-1-2019 by Sulaiman]

S.C. Wack - 19-1-2019 at 17:59

First one should test that it doesn't dissolve in water or alcohol, as noted by ebay seller lucky*stone...the insolubility in nitric acid until some HCl is added may be helpful for some ores. Many ores are quite poor, but even so if I lived somewhere like the SF Bay area I'd be out trespassing and thieving for cinnabar appearing from weathering/mudslides at historic deposits.

Perhaps dry distillation can be done in a closed iron pipe system.

Even being insoluble it is said to react in boiling water on contact with Cu and especially Zn dust. I would think it would be the same with Al, perhaps with a touch of acid.

Mr. Rogers - 21-1-2019 at 12:51

Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
Quote: Originally posted by Mr. Rogers  
I'd love to find a source for reasonably priced HgS.

[Edited on 19-1-2019 by Mr. Rogers]

Well, there's the reaction between sulphur and mercury...


But you end up with black HgS while cinnabar is red. I don't want this for chemistry.

[Edited on 21-1-2019 by Mr. Rogers]

Sulaiman - 21-1-2019 at 14:29

My HgS sample is not soluble in a test tube with either boiling IPA or boiling water.
I heated the sample to dryness with no noticeable change,
then I heated it intensely over a candle flame;
the colour appeared to change from the lovely transparent red/scarlet to black :o

Shaking the cooled sample revealed that the blackening was only on the crystals near to the glass,
the bulk of the crystals are still red.

The crystals settle very quickly after agitation in water so appear to be quite dense.

S.C. Wack - 21-1-2019 at 15:19

See it's true it's lucky stuff.

I wonder how toxic HgS vapor is. They say the Chinese used it to color candles. Maybe they still do...

As the old books tell with specific instructions, vermilion was made by direct combination of the elements and sublimation.

MrHomeScientist - 23-1-2019 at 07:11

Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  
Slightly annoying ... I can't think of a method of measuring the density of this 2g sample as I have no equipment to measure small volumes.
My 300g x 0.01g scales should be ok for c2g +/- 1%
... brain dead ... help
_________________________________________________
Edit : Is HgS soluble in sodium polysulphide (I have some) or must it be 'fresh'

[Edited on 19-1-2019 by Sulaiman]

There's actually a neat way to measure density that only requires an accurate scale; no volumes necessary. First you fill a cup with enough water to completely submerge the object. Place this on the scale and tare it. Then tie a thin wire or string to the object. Lower the object into the cup so that it is fully underwater, but NOT touching the sides or bottom of the cup. The scale will give you a reading. This is the weight of the water displaced by the object. Since the density of water is 1, this is also equivalent to the volume of the object!
Then just weigh the object as normal, divide by the volume, and there's your density.

Edit: Of course, that volume is actually the volume of the object plus the string. For maximum accuracy, you'd have to subtract out the volume of the string. I used a rigid wire when I did this, so I marked a dot on the wire so I knew how far it dipped underwater. Then I was able to dip just the wire by itself and measure its volume that way.

[Edited on 1-23-2019 by MrHomeScientist]

j_sum1 - 23-1-2019 at 07:52

CodysLab uses this method and his setup minimises the string error. Go to his channel and do a search.

Sulaiman - 23-1-2019 at 07:58

I have used this method to determine the density of my silver bullion coins.
The string (I used nylon mono-filament) adds error but worse are any air bubbles adhering to the surface of the object being measured.
This is why I discounted this method for a sample of small crystals.

MrHomeScientist - 23-1-2019 at 11:58

Shake 'em around a bit underwater, then! :)
I probably lucked out when I did it because my object was a sphere, so there were few opportunities for bubbles to get trapped.

Johnny Windchimes - 4-2-2020 at 12:34

Hope this isn't too much of a necropost, but I've had luck with this process:



Attachment: US1718103 - Cinnabar electrolysis to Hg - Copy.pdf (213kB)
This file has been downloaded 216 times


pneumatician - 12-3-2020 at 09:59

Quote: Originally posted by S.C. Wack  
See it's true it's lucky stuff.

I wonder how toxic HgS vapor is. They say the Chinese used it to color candles. Maybe they still do...

As the old books tell with specific instructions, vermilion was made by direct combination of the elements and sublimation.


look this guy :)

The Ascent of Man: 4 -- The Hidden Structure
https://archive.org/details/theascentofman4thehiddenstructur...

draculic acid69 - 12-3-2020 at 17:07

Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  
Slightly annoying ... I can't think of a method of measuring the density of this 2g sample as I have no equipment to measure small volumes.
My 300g x 0.01g scales should be ok for c2g +/- 1%
... brain dead ... help
_________________________________________________
Edit : Is HgS soluble in sodium polysulphide (I have some) or must it be 'fresh'

[Edited on 19-1-2019 by Sulaiman]


Maybe if u obtained a 1 ml cough syrup syringe and crushed your sample if it's cinnibar w/density of 8.1g/ml it should fill the syringe about 1/4 full.

Ubya - 12-3-2020 at 19:03

Quote: Originally posted by draculic acid69  
Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  
Slightly annoying ... I can't think of a method of measuring the density of this 2g sample as I have no equipment to measure small volumes.
My 300g x 0.01g scales should be ok for c2g +/- 1%
... brain dead ... help
_________________________________________________
Edit : Is HgS soluble in sodium polysulphide (I have some) or must it be 'fresh'

[Edited on 19-1-2019 by Sulaiman]

the density of a powder is not the same as the density of the solid unground material

Maybe if u obtained a 1 ml cough syrup syringe and crushed your sample if it's cinnibar w/density of 8.1g/ml it should fill the syringe about 1/4 full.

draculic acid69 - 12-3-2020 at 19:19

You are correct.my bad.now that you point it out I get it.

draculic acid69 - 13-3-2020 at 18:53

What if u get a 1ml strive as suck .5ml into it then squirt your .5ml into a spoon or something then take the syringe apart and without crushing the sample of cinnibar put it in the syringe barrel then suck the .5ml back into the syringe.the water line should then be around the .75ml mark then correct?

Sulaiman - 13-3-2020 at 20:09

YES, that should do it !

I may even buy some more cinnabar, shipped to me here, so I can try soon.

draculic acid69 - 14-3-2020 at 21:13

Quote: Originally posted by draculic acid69  
What if u get a 1ml strive as suck .5ml into it then squirt your .5ml into a spoon or something then take the syringe apart and without crushing the sample of cinnibar put it in the syringe barrel then suck the .5ml back into the syringe.the water line should then be around the .75ml mark then correct?


Damm autocorrect.strive should be syringe.as should be and.

[Edited on 15-3-2020 by draculic acid69]

draculic acid69 - 14-3-2020 at 21:17

As long as it's all under the waterline it should be a perfect way to test the density of such a small amount of something