Mercury Chemical Properties (23 Facts You Should Know)

Mercury is a liquid metal in the periodic table. Let us explain about facts related to mercury.

Mercury is a heavy, shiny and silvery liquid metallic substance. It has a rhombohedral crystal structure. Mercury does not participate in the reaction with most acids but it reacts with hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Maximum metals (except iron) are dissolved in mercury to form an amalgam.

Let us focus on the position of mercury in the periodic table, melting as well as its boiling point, ionic radius, isotopes, ionization energy and many other facts of mercury in this article.

Mercury Symbol

The symbol is used in chemistry to describe or to write any chemical element in a short form. Let us write the chemical symbol of mercury.

The chemical symbol of mercury is Hg. This abbreviation comes from the Latin name “hydrargyrum” which was used formerly instead of the word “mercury”. The meaning of the word “hydrargyrum” is liquid silver.

Mercury Group in Periodic Table

A group in the periodic table describes a column that consists of a set of elements having almost the same electron configuration. Let us figure out the group of mercury.

Mercury belongs to group 12 (IIb) after zinc (Zn) and cadmium (Cd) and before copernicium (Cn).

Mercury Period in Periodic Table

A period is the horizontal row of chemical elements which possess almost similar properties. Let us predict the period of Hg in the periodic table.

Mercury belongs to the 6th period of the periodic table between gold (Au) and titanium (Ti).

mercury chemical properties
Mercury in Periodic Table

Mercury Block in Periodic Table

A block is made with more than one group and period of chemical elements having similar physical and chemical properties. Let us discuss the block of mercury in periodic table.

Mercury is a d-block element because it contains a fulfilled d-orbital (5d10) and this d-orbital starts filling at the last, even after 6s.

Mercury Atomic Number

The atomic number is nothing but the total nuclear charge or the total number of protons in the nucleus. Let us talk about the atomic number of mercury in detail.

The atomic number of mercury is 80 as it has 80 protons in its positively charged nucleus. The nuclear charge of mercury is also 80.

Mercury Atomic Weight

The atomic weight is described as the weight possessed by one atom of the element. Let us explore the atomic weight of Hg.

Mercury has an atomic weight of 200.59 amu (atomic mass unit). This is the actual weight of a mercury atom.

Mercury Electronegativity according to Pauling

The electronegativity of any element is the property of pulling the bonding electrons towards itself from a covalent bond. Let us predict the electronegativity of Hg.

The electronegativity of mercury is 2.0 according to the Pauling scale. Electronegativity is a unitless term.

Mercury Atomic Density

The atomic density is obtained between the ratio of atomic mass with atomic volume. Let us calculate the atomic density of mercury.

Mercury has an atomic density of 13.6 g/ml. It means mercury is 13.6 times denser than water because water has an atomic density of 1.0 g/ml.

Mercury Melting Point

The melting point defines a definite temperature at which solid form changes into its liquid state. Let us find out the melting point of mercury.

Mercury has a melting point of -38.830 C. The melting point of Hg is much lower than the room temperature.

Mercury Boiling Point

The boiling point indicates a particular temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid becomes equal to the atmospheric pressure. Let us explore the boiling point of Hg.

Mercury possesses a relatively higher boiling point of  356.70 C.

Mercury Van der Waals Radius

The Van der Waals radius is defined as half of the distance between two atoms that are not attached by any type of bond. Let us explain the Van der Waals radius of Hg.

Mercury has a Van der Waals radius of 155 pm or 0.155 nm and it has a slightly lesser atomic radius of 151 pm than the Van der Waals radius.

Mercury Ionic/Covalent Radius

The ionic radius is the radius of an ion and covalent radius is half of the distance between two atoms that are attached by covalent bonds. Let us understand this in terms of Hg.

Mercury has a covalent radius of 132 pm which is much lesser than its atomic and Van der Waals radius. The ionic radius of Hg+1 and Hg+2 is 133 and 116 pm respectively.

Mercury Isotopes

Isotopes belong to a family of chemical elements having the same nuclear charge or atomic number in their nucleus. Let us discuss the isotopes of mercury in detail.

Isotopes Abundance (in %) Decay mode
194Hg syn ε
195Hg syn ε
196Hg 0.15 stable
197Hg syn ε
198Hg 10.04 stable
199Hg 16.94 stable
200Hg 23.14 stable
201Hg 13.17 stable
202Hg 29.74 stable
203Hg syn β
204Hg 6.82 stable
Different Isotopes of Mercury

Mercury Electronic Shell

The electronic shell can be thought of as a definite energy state in which the electrons reside. Let us calculate the total number of electronic shells in Hg.

Mercury contains six electronic shells in its electron configuration. It has 2,8,18,32,18, and 2 electrons in its respective electronic shells.

Mercury Energy of First Ionization

The first ionization energy is the minimum energy required to loose the most loosely bound electron from a neutral atom. Let us explain this in terms of Hg.

Mercury has the first ionization energy of 1007.1 KJ/mol. This value is relatively high because the first valence electron is removed from the fulfilled 6s orbital. Therefore, a stable electron configuration is destructed.

Mercury Energy of Second Ionization

Second ionization energy is the energy needed to remove the 2nd electron from the valence shell of an atom. Let us find out the second ionization energy of mercury.

The second ionization energy of mercury is 1810 KJ/mol.

Mercury Energy of Third Ionization

Third ionization energy is the energy required to remove one electron from a dipositive ion from its valence shell. Let us calculate this for mercury.

Mercury has a much higher 3rd ionization energy which is 3300 KJ/mol.

Mercury Oxidation States

The oxidation state or oxidation number is the number of electrons gained or lost by the element. Let us see the oxidation state of mercury.

Mercury can be present in three oxidation states. They are-

  • Hg (0)- elemental mercury.
  • Hg (I) – mercurous mercury.
  • Hg (II) – mercuric mercury.

Mercury Electron Configurations

Electron configuration is nothing but the arrangement of electrons in different electronic shells. Let us explain the electron configuration of Hg.

Mercury has 80 electrons which are arranged as : [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s2.

Mercury CAS Number

The CAS registry number is a particular number that refers to a chemical element. Let us find out the CAS number of mercury.

Mercury has the CAS registry number 7439-97-6.

Mercury ChemSpider ID

The ChemSpider ID is a free database of chemical structures which provides different information about the structure of the chemical element. Let us find out this for mercury.

The ChemSpider ID of mercury is 22373.

Mercury Chemical Classification

The chemical classification systems attempt to classify the chemical elements depending on their properties and electron configuration. Let us do it for Hg.

Mercury is classified as a d-block metallic substance. But it is not a transition metal because it does not have any partially filled d-orbital (5d10).

Mercury State at Room Temperature

The state of any chemical element is determined by its melting and boiling point as well as the intermolecular attraction force. Let us explain it in detail.

Mercury is liquid at room temperature as it has a much lower melting point and relatively higher boiling point than the room temperature.

Is mercury paramagnetic?

Paramagnetism is a form of magnetism in which the elements are attracted weakly by the magnetic field. Let us see whether mercury is paramagnetic or not.

Mercury is not a paramagnetic compound because it has no unpaired electrons. All the electrons of Hg are paired up. Therefore, it is a diamagnetic compound.


Mercury is the only liquid metal in the periodic table. It is mostly used in the formation of amalgams with different metals like gold and silver. It has also different uses in fluorescent lamps, thermometers, barometers float valves, etc.