An article published in the journal Scientific reports investigated a potentially clean solution for the disposal of mercury waste based on the confinement of nanoscale mercury in a solid state at room temperature (RT).
Study: Mercury becomes solid at room temperature in the nanoscale and a potential waste storage of Hg. Image Credit: BeataGFX/Shutterstock.com
The unique properties of Mercury
Mercury (Hg) is one of the most remarkable periodic metal with respect to its physico-chemical characteristics at room temperature. In particle physics, the increased density reduces the physical size of the target and affects the construction of the pion capture mechanism, the timing of the next burst, and pion generation.
In astrophysics, it has been used as an effective infrared liquid reflector due to its liquid metal form and therefore greater surface smoothness coupled with its excellent IR reflectance. Also, due to its strong infrared-reflecting optical properties, it was a potential incident reflector for laser-based inertial fusion energy studies.
HOW does mercury crystallize at room temperature?
In the gaseous state, mercury is the only metal that will not form diatomic molecules. Its liquid RT mass characteristic is attributed to its unusual gaseous structure.
At room temperature, mercury, being a metal in the singular liquid state, has the greatest elementary surface tension. mathematical simulations the junction fluid vapor basic metals, as well as increased disturbance to the second order in the pseudo-potential “e-ion” surface, revealed high surface tension could lead stacking considerable surface area of three to five atomic planes.
This room temperature surface atomic arrangement found on the planar surface of bulk mercury could be significantly, if not drastically, increased in mercury nanoparticles (NPs) if they could be modified. As such, the surface atomic density in nanoscale mercury would be higher due to its high surface-to-volume ratio and three-dimensional symmetric distribution. Due to Mercury’s greatly increased surface tension, surface processes will now trump gravitational influences at this scale.
The increase in mercury surface fraction of nanoscale should increase the surface tension of Laplace. At ambient temperatures, this additional surface tension will cause a sharp crystallization of mercury nanoscale liquid to the state-rhombohedral solidified. Thus, at room temperature, this event atomic arrangement should result in considerable crystallization liquid to rhombohedral type crystalline state.
Main results of the study
While the Hg in bulk is in liquid phase at room temperature in its disposal at the nanometer scale, there are solid phase. Mercury IP integrated in a frame Home turbostratic boron nitride two-dimensional (BN) Net crystallization displayed at ambient temperature by combining the influence of nano-sized and the surface of surplus voltage driven Laplace.
Mercury IP with a diameter below the predefined threshold of 2.5 nm of PT phase diagram demonstrate a clear crystallization expressed by surface atomic stacking of approximately seven to eight atomic planes.
Nanoscale mercury exists in the solid phase at room temperature with an a-rhombohedral crystal framework below such a predefined threshold of 2.5 nm. Mathematical simulation using various codes and estimates revealed a distinct buildup and reduction in electronic charge concentration upon adsorption of mercury atoms.
Changes in charge concentration are most apparent upon adsorption of Hg (101) and (003) surfaces. This latest finding lends credence to the experimentally measured atomic arrangement and solidification of nanoscale mercury at room temperature.
From the point of view of technical implementations, and in the light of the acquired theoretical and experimental results, the methodology adopted in this work represents a viable method of storing mercury at room temperature.
The solid nature of nanometer reduced its mercury vapor threat at room temperature, supporting the concept of safe storage. Given the mercury vapor pressure in the bulk liquid phase, incorporating mercury in its nano form in chemically non-reactive BN executives could represent a major breakthrough in the safe storage of mercury and reduce its harmful aspects, particularly for waste mercury created from current halogen efficient lighting systems.
As an extension of this fundamental work, methods based on synchrotron as EXAFS, SAXS and XRD powder should be used.
Kana, N., Morad, R. et al. (2022). Mercury becomes solid at room temperature in the nanoscale and a potential waste storage of Hg. Scientific reports, 12. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-06857-6