What is Red Mercury and different types of Mercury?

Red Mercury is an alpha crystalline form of Mercury Iodide, which is red in color and changes to yellow color when heated above 126°. It is different from Cinnabar, which is the source of the red pigment
mineral.
There are many definitions for Red Mercury. It is a cherry- red semi- liquid which has probable use in creating nuclear bombs.

The term ‘Red mercury is in existence since the 1960s when a report cited that Russian scientists have developed a fission device to create an extremely powerful explosive. Some scientists claim it to be so
powerful that it can trigger fission reaction in tritium and deuterium-tritium compounds. Red mercury is also considered to be the code name for smuggling nuclear materials through the dark channel of the
iron curtain.
Recently, some terrorists have been arrested for buying ‘Red Mercury and probably planning to create a fission bomb through the Russian explosive device.

 

This news has once again brought in the term ‘Red Mercury; in media and news channels.

Red Mercury existence has always remained a topic of debate among scientists and in Science world.

Different types of Mercury and their applications

Different types of Mercury and their applications

Mercury is an element which remains in the liquid state in normal room temperature. Its symbol is ‘Hg' ; and is present on the periodic table with atomic number 80. There are basically three types of mercury available on earth i.e. elemental mercury, organic and inorganic mercury. The most basic form of Mercury is elemental mercury, which is a liquid

state of mercury. It is a silvery liquid which is often referred to as ‘Quicksilver' .

It is used in various man-made products like a barometer, thermometer, and dental amalgam. When it is spilled on the floor, it turns into vapor at room temperature very quickly.


The organic form of mercury is Methylmercury which is abundantly found in nature.

 

The organic mercury is converted into inorganic forms by the microorganism present in the environment. It is very harmful to the living organism which affects the central nervous system of children and adults.

 

The inorganic form of mercury is commonly found in white color. It is commonly used in disinfectants and fungicides and poses a threat to human consumption.

The Mercury and its compounds are considered highly toxic for the environment and human health.

 

Its presence in the earth crust is very small i.e. 0.08 ppm (parts per million) but its percentage has been increasing continuously due to human activities.

 

The two- thirds of the mercury present in the environment are due to human actions and its use in various products. It naturally exists in a vapor state in the environment and comes down to Earth through rainfall, snowfall, and dust. It gets mixed with soil and water and harms the life of aquatic animals like fish.

Another feature of this element is that it stays in the atmosphere for a very long period of time and that is why it poses a
great risk to human and environment.