Mercury(II) chloride

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Mercury(II) chloride structure

Mercury(II) chloride, also known as mercuric chloride and corrosive sublimate, is a chemical compound. Its chemical formula is HgCl2. It has mercury and chloride ions in it. The mercury is in its +2 oxidation state.

Properties[change | change source]

It is a white crystalline solid. It is very toxic. It can be made by reacting chlorine with mercury. It is not ionic, like most metal-nonmetal chemical compounds are. For example, it evaporates easily when heated, while ionic compounds like sodium chloride stay solid. It dissolves in water, but much better in hot water than in cold water. It also dissolves in chloride solutions. It is very corrosive and a strong oxidizing agent. It reacts with bases to make mercury(II) oxide.

Preparation[change | change source]

It can be made by reacting mercury(I) chloride or mercury metal with chlorine. It can also be made by reacting mercury(I) nitrate with hydrochloric acid or by reacting mercury(II) sulfate with sodium chloride.

Uses[change | change source]

It is used as a catalyst in making plastics. It is also used to make an amalgam with metals such as aluminum. It was used in the past to preserve various things and as a medicine. It is too toxic to be used as a medicine anymore. It was used in photography.

Related pages[change | change source]