Definitions

amalgam

amalgam

[uh-mal-guhm]
amalgam, alloy containing mercury. The alloy may be liquid or solid, depending on the proportion of mercury, although all naturally occurring amalgams, i.e., those of gold and silver, are solid. Amalgams are widely used. Silver, gold, and copper amalgams are used in dentistry, and tin amalgam is used in making mirrors.

Alloy of mercury and one or more other metals. Those of silver, gold, and palladium occur naturally. Those with a very high mercury content are liquid; others are crystalline. Amalgams of silver and tin, with minor amounts of copper and zinc, are used in dentistry to fill teeth. Sodium amalgam is used in manufacturing chlorine and sodium hydroxide by electrolysis of brine. Amalgams are used to recover silver and gold from their ores: The ore is shaken with mercury, the amalgam is separated and heated until the mercury distills off (see distillation), and the precious metal is the residue. Amalgams are also used to silver mirrors and apply other metal coatings.

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Amalgam is a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. It is located in Region 4.

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