Seven words to describe the element mercury are quicksilver, heavy, metallic, liquid, toxic, conductor and stable. Mercury is found in period 6 and group 12 of the periodic table. It has an atomic number of 80 and an atomic weight of 200 grams/mole.
Mercury is a metallic, heavy element that is found in liquid form at room temperature. The element is commonly known as quicksilver due to its silvery liquid appearance. It is the only metallic element that is liquid under standard temperature and pressure conditions.
Mercury can also be described as being toxic because mercury poisoning can occur in people who eat seafood contaminated with mercury, inhale mercury vapor or are exposed to water-soluble mercury in thermometers.
The element can also be described as a conductor despite it being a poor conductor of heat because it is a fair conductor of electricity. Its conductive properties occur due to its unique electron configuration. Mercury’s electrons completely fill up each of its sub-shells. For this reason, the element behaves very similarly to the noble gas elements.
Chemically, mercury dissolves in many other metals such as silver, zinc and cadmium to form amalgams. These amalgams can be used for a variety of purposes, such as extracting gold from ores and helping to extend the life of dry cell batteries.