Achieve financial independence with boiling mercury!

On this blog and I've written about mercury, and, thanks to the very independent thinkers at Life Technology, also alchemy.

So I suppose I was just asking for this correspondence, from yesterday:

Respected Sir,

I have visited your website and then I am writing to you. so If you dont't mind then give me some opinon abuout mercury after reading below datail:

I have making mercury into solid shape in Zink and then I want to give it into golden color, I have packed it in a Copper small pots shaped " Male Female" and then put it into a ceramics Cup, then cover the Copper port with wett soil. when I heat it. after heating I made it cool and open the copper pots then I saw that due to leakage the mercury has flew up, only zink was in the pot.

I want to ask you that I want to block the leakage of copper pots so that mercury should heat and boiled but should not evaporates from the copper pots

what should i do to stop the the leakage from copper pots.

please give me some cheapest opinion. I am waiting for your good response.


My reply:

I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to do here, but:

1. If you actually manage to seal the containers solidly, they may explode when heated. Mercury's boiling point is low enough to make this possible with relatively little heating.

2. You don't need to heat mercury much, or at all, to get it to form an amalgam with any of the many metals with which it will amalgamate. (This includes, by the way, the copper from which you are making the vessels...)

Warming the mercury over boiling water should be as much as is ever necessary, and I wouldn't even bother with that unless I'd already tried it at room temperature and it hadn't worked.

The mercury does need to directly touch the metal, though. Mercury amalgamates readily with, for instance, bare aluminium, but it will not amalgamate with ordinary zinc or copper, because of the thin layer of carbonate and oxide (respectively) on the surface of those metals. Brush the metal with a little dilute hydrochloric acid, though, and the mercury will suddenly "wet" it, and amalgamate. Metals that take a while to dissolve in mercury will dissolve faster if you chop, grind or file them into small pieces, to increase their surface area.

3. I presume you're doing this somewhere with good ventilation - preferably a standard laboratory "fume hood", but just doing it outdoors is a lot better than nothing.

You should not be doing any experiments with mercury in a poorly-ventilated area, or science will become harder and harder for you to understand, because your brain will be rotting away.

Abdul replied:

thanks for reply me. Actually I want to speak truth to you for more guidance. I belong to a poor family, and I have got a knowledge to make Gold with the combination of Zinc, Mercury with the normal temprature of Sulphur.
I have make Silver with the cmbination of Zinc and Mercury, the last Step is to Give this combination into Golden color. I have put the Prepared Silver into copper ( Male Female Pots) and then make plaster to copper with mud. then I heated the pots.

result is nearly to success but when I open the copper pots I saw there was no Mercury only burned Zinc was in the pots.

Please guide me if you can help me I will pray for you for the betterment of the world and the hereafter.



My reply:

Uh... do you mean you're making something that looks like gold, but isn't? You can't do that with zinc, mercury and sulphur, but there are a number of scams that're a bit like this. I'm sure, for instance, that some "alchemists" used fire-gilding, where you make a gold/mercury amalgam, rub that on what you want to gild, then boil off the mercury. That can make a lead brick look like a gold one. People have also hollowed out lead bricks and filled them with mercury, because it's a bit denser than lead and gives a fake gold brick a slightly more realistic weight.

If you think you're actually making gold, though - or have actually already made silver - then I am afraid you are mistaken.

Every possible combination of commonly-available substances under every possible combination of domestically-attainable conditions, and then some, has already been tried by alchemists, over many centuries. And all of them failed.

The alchemists didn't know why they never managed to come up with the Philosopher's Stone, but now we do; it turns out that there are very good basic physical reasons, supported by very, very large amounts of evidence including the functionality of devices which most of the world's population use every day, why turning base metals into gold is impossible.

(Well, OK, you can do it with a particle accelerator, but that requires immense amounts of electricity to make minute amounts of gold.)

Anybody who still tries to make alchemy work is like someone who declares that they don't care what astronomers say, stars really are just holes in the sky that let light through from heaven.

I feel I must repeat my warning about mercury poisoning. Alchemists who decided mercury was the key to finally making the Philosopher's Stone never made any gold, but did quite often give themselves mercury poisoning.

If you don't believe me, I suggest you take your "silver" to a precious-metals dealer and see if they want to buy it.

Abdul has not yet replied. I like to think that he's actually seeing if he really has made silver from base metals.

UPDATE: Abdul's latest, and I hope last, e-mail to me:

Respected Sir,

Thanks for reply me with kind attention.

Actually A herbal pharmacist purchased the that is called " Mercury with copper heated M aterial" at the rate of equal with gold.

My brother in law has adviced me and give me the procedure to prepare the Mercury.

I have prepared Mercury amalg with zinc but when I heat this thing in copper pots the result is opposite to his remarks.

my brother in law said that your copper pot should be leak proof so that Mercury should boiling in it but it should not evaporated or not leakage from this pot.

but I could not stop this leakage . every time all the Mercury leaked out of the copper pot when it boiled or heated.

if it is possible to stop leakage without any welding. then please guide me

I have seen that people prepare many things with Mercury then how is it possible? and how can we control Mercury and mould it in any shape or color.

I will be thankful to you.


I told him again that these ideas are thousands of years out of date, and that we now know down to the subatomic particles why they cannot work, and that he might as well be trying to construct a ladder to the moon. I then asked him to think about why it might be that his brother-in-law is not the richest man in the world.

Perhaps it'll make some sort of impression upon him. As with this bloke who was using his twilight years to try to construct a perpetual-motion machine, I hope he finds something better to do with his life. Which could, of course, be drastically shortened if he spends a lot of time in a cloud of mercury vapour.

I wonder if there have actually been millions of people, over the millennia, who've thrown their whole life down the dry well of the Philosopher's Stone or the quest for the Fountain of Youth or perpetual motion. I suppose it'd have to be many millions, if you count all of the people whose extremely demanding religious observances leave them with little time to themselves, and few things their gods will allow them to do in their leisure time anyway. (Even if one agonising ultra-orthodox faith is actually correct, that only makes things worse for followers of all the others.)

16 Responses to “Achieve financial independence with boiling mercury!”

  1. Chazzozz Says:

    Alchemy may not win the day, but I strongly suspect Natural Selection might do so instead...

  2. speedweasel Says:

    If only he had stuck with his Emu farm idea...

  3. dr_w00t Says:

    I don't think he's seeing if he really has made silver from base metals - I think he's busy putting together his mule-powered particle accelerator...

  4. Anne Says:

    Now now, don't be so down on him. It's perfectly possible to make gold from mercury. You can even produce technetium in industrial quantities! Unfortunately it's not really good for anything other than polluting the Irish Sea. I have to say, though, if you're making elements there's probably more money to be made making plutonium.

  5. tgdavies Says:

    I like to think he's busy making a particle accelerator :-)

  6. Anne Says:

    If all he needs is a neutron source (rather than a full particle accelerator), it's perfectly possible he could do it by building a fusion reactor in his basement. Of course, it'll still cost a fortune in electricity per g of gold produced, and the deuterium to fuse probably costs more than gold, but it can be done.

  7. Anne Says:

    Just out of curiosity, I worked out the economics of making gold at home. Not too surprisingly, it trips over Avogadro's number and turns out to be unfeasible.

  8. RichVR Says:

    Is his last name Alhazred? That might explain a few things.

  9. steveg Says:

    Only vaguely relevant. Mercury is really heavy. I picked up a peanut butter jar (probably 300ml) of it a friend had lying around. Very surprising.

    We didn't put it on toast.

  10. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Well, obviously not. It'd bead up and fall off.

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  12. RichVR Says:

    "Mercury is really heavy."

    Yeah it does sort of throw you. I have several mercury switches. Most are from old home thermostats, but one is about the size of a small radio/TV vacuum tube. Don't recall where i got it. But the mercury inside has a layer of grayish goop on top which I'm guessing is oxidation, but I may be wrong.

    Anyway when I shake that one the thudding is enough to make me fear that it just might break the glass if I gave it too much of a shaking.

    So Dan? Oxidation? Perhaps a bit of the metal contacts that flaked off? Is it possible that there is a very tiny opening in the glass tube itself, allowing contaminants in?

    Nothing leaks out as far as I can tell and there is no opening visible to the naked eye or a 30X geologist loupe.

  13. RichVR Says:

    BTW, ya think #11 is legit? I could use the loan of a student. My house is a mess.

  14. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Dammit, now that someone said something about the spam-comment I have to leave it there :-). Defused all the links, though, and deleted the user account of course.

  15. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Yes, crud on the top is probably oxide, or some other slag from slow reactions between the mercury and whatever gases are in and/or leaking into the container. The usual way to clean mercury is to pour it through a paper funnel with a pinhole in the end of it; the mercury goes through the pinhole, the crud stays stuck to the paper, and the paper becomes contaminated waste.

    I am familiar with that nervous feeling you get when you're swirling mercury around in old glassware. I have yet to find a really solid, yet pleasing-looking, container for mine. A round-bottomed flask might do it.

  16. Red October Says:

    Am I the only one who finds it amusing that now that we actually can transmute lead to gold, that it's financially unfeasable to do so? The thing that was once the basic goal of a great deal of scientific research (or what passed for it at the time) becomes more or less a joke?
    I suppose that if someone actually created a philosopher's stone or a panacea or some such there'd be no joke, but given the fundamental nature of the philosopher's stone and the panacea versus the transmutation of lead to gold (The first two are essentially impossible, the latter only a matter of mucking about with the fundamental nature of the material) I sincearly doubt anyone will come up with either, although one could speculate that some kind of highly advanced nanomachine could function as a panacea, containing in its memory the nature of every known affliction of man and the method to setting it right, but even that is more like a really tiny hospital full of doctors versus an actual medicine...

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