Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mercury Amalgamation

Mercury does some strange things.   One of the oddest things it does is alloy with other metals- usually non-ferrous metals like gold, copper,  aluminum, silver,  etc.   The strange part of it is it does this at room temperature.  

I bought what I thought was gold leaf at a crafts store.   I had never bought it before and it came in an envelope and the information on the package was really poor.  I had no idea how much I was actually buying.   Maybe a few square inches for the $10 I paid for it?   Who knows.    

I opened up the package and inside were 18 individual sheets of the leaf-  each measuring around 4x4".    The leaf is on sheets of parchment-like paper and the metal is very thin.  It's practically  all  "surface area".   

Upon further examination of the package I discovered it was not gold at all,   but  some sort of copper/zinc  composition.   

Fortunately,   copper AND zinc can be amalgamated with mercury too.   So the project isn't  a complete loss.  

Though it just isn't as cool as using gold.