Indoor, Outdoor & Kids' Trampolines

What If You Jumped Into Pool of Mercury

Nothing fascinates people quite like a bit
of Mercury. As the only metal that is a liquid at room
temperature, Mercury doesn’t quite behave like most liquids we’re used to. That’s because most liquids… well, they
aren’t metals. Mercury’s viscosity is 1.5 times that of
water, and its surface tension is six times greater- that’s why it beads up into little
balls so easily instead of smear when you spread it around. But Mercury isn’t something to play around
with, in fact it’s one of the most toxic substances on earth, and even just touching
it can cause severe health hazards. Contact with skin can cause severe irritation
and even chemical burns, and within minutes you could experience dizziness, vertigo, flu-like
symptoms, burning and irritation, pale or clammy skin, irritability, and emotional instability. That’s because Mercury is a nerve toxin,
and directly affects the brain- severe exposure can lead to madness and even death! But because Mercury has a very high vapor
pressure, it can vaporize at room temperature, so even if you can’t taste or smell it,
you could still be breathing in dangerous amounts of vaporized mercury! Surprisingly though, despite being one of
the most dangerous poisons on earth, up until the late 19th century doctors would prescribe
Mercury as a laxative! That’s because while its vapors are highly
toxic and it is easily absorbed by the porous skin, mercury is not very easily absorbed
by the specialized tissues of the gastrointestinal tract. That’s not to say it’s safe to drink Mercury-
far from it- but doing it once or twice shouldn’t be enough to seriously harm you- and word
has it that it’s a very effective laxative, but we’re ok with not finding out for ourselves. So what would happen exactly if you dove into
a pool full of mercury? Well, the first answer is that you would almost
certainly receive a very fatal dose of mercury poisoning as the metal made contact with all
your bare skin. You’d also probably inhale a great deal
of vaporized mercury, which would instantly go to work on your brain as we saw earlier. At such high concentrations, death would be
certain! But remember how we also said earlier that
liquid mercury wasn’t like most other liquids? That’s because it’s far more dense, viscous,
and has a much greater surface tension than water. Mercury’s density is so great in fact that
you could probably stand in a pool of it and only sink to about your shins, so trying to
dive into a pool of it… well you wouldn’t sink very much at all. Mercury is a pretty dangerous neurotoxin that
can be easily absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled. Severe exposure can cause madness, blindness,
chemical burns and even outright death. But for all its dangers, at least now you
know there’s little chance of ever drowning in it!

Reader Comments

  1. Gallium melts at room temperature so mercury isnt the only metal that’s moulton at room temperature so youre wrong

  2. Murcury are also caused hat makers to go mad and get sick in the 19th century, because they used made hats using Mercury mixed in with felt hats 🎩 and they were close refined with the chemical. This was called “Mad Hater disease”.

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