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Question Video: Phase Transition of Mercury Element at Varying Temperature Chemistry • 10th Grade

The element mercury melts at −38.8°C and boils at 356.7°C. What will the state of matter of mercury be at 0°C?

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Video Transcript

The element mercury melts at negative 38.8 degrees Celsius and boils at 356.7 degrees Celsius. What will the state of matter of mercury be at zero degrees Celsius?

Mercury is a transition metal. It has the chemical symbol Hg. And as a metal, we might expect it to exist in a lattice of regular atoms fixed in place or in other words as a solid. But the question tells us that mercury melts at negative 38.8 degrees Celsius. What this means is if we provide enough energy to our solid mercury, the individual particles in mercury will start to move over one another. And the whole thing will become a fluid or a liquid. And the temperature at which this happens is negative 38.8 degrees Celsius. So, below this temperature, mercury is a solid. And above this temperature, mercury is a liquid.

The question also tells us that mercury boils at 356.7 degrees Celsius. What this means is that when we get to 356.7 degrees Celsius, all the liquid will start getting enough energy to escape the attractions between one another. And they’ll become a gas. And the temperature at which this occurs is 356.7 degrees Celsius. So, we have melting, moving from a solid to a liquid, and boiling, moving from a liquid to a gas. And mercury is liquid below 356.7 degrees Celsius and a gas above it. All we need to do is figure out what state of matter mercury will be in at zero degrees Celsius.

Zero degrees Celsius is greater than the melting point of mercury and it’s less than the boiling point of mercury. Therefore, the state of matter that mercury will be in at zero degrees Celsius is liquid.

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