# American Liquid Mercury Question

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Dave Heise, Mar 29, 2020.

1. ### Dave Heise Registered User NAWCC Member

Apr 13, 2005
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#1
Generally, in terms of volume, how much liquid mercury is contained in a typical crystal regulator pendulum? I want to ship a clock - intact, and with a well padded pendulum - and will need to know the approximate volume in the dual vials when I interface with various shippers. I know that it can be done, just want to be on the up-and-up when I do.

2. ### Uhralt Registered User NAWCC Member

Sep 4, 2008
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#2
I would think about 2 to 3 ml in total.

Uhralt

3. ### shutterbug Moderator NAWCC Member

Oct 19, 2005
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#3
Check your local regulations. You probably have to have special permits to ship Mercury. Or at least some restrictions on packing it.

4. ### JTD Registered User

Sep 27, 2005
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#4
You may be right, but that seems rather little to me, that would be less than a teaspoonful wouldn't it?

JTD

5. ### Uhralt Registered User NAWCC Member

Sep 4, 2008
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#5
The 2 to 3 ml was my guess by just looking at it. Your question prompted me to do a quick calculation. For that, I assume the following:
The inner diameter of the glass vial is 4 mm, or 0.4 cm.
The height of the mercury column (h) is 4 cm.
The volume (V) equals a x h
These numbers are estimates from my French crystal regulator. Maybe not exact but close.

The volume of a column is area of the circle (a) x height.
a = pie x radius squared
a = 3.14 x 0.2squared
a = 3.14x0.04 = 0.126
V = 0.126 x 4 = 0.5 ml

Because there are two vials in the pendulum, the total volume is 1 ml.
That's even less than my guesstimate.

Uhralt

6. ### JTD Registered User

Sep 27, 2005
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#6
I expect you're right. It just seemed very little to me. Sorry to make you 'show your working' as they used to say on the exam papers when I was at school!

JTD

7. ### Stickler Registered User

Nov 2, 2017
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#7
It is actually about 5 mL per vial or 10mL for both vials, assuming the above dimensions. The mercury would would weigh about 136 g or 4.6 oz.

8. ### JTD Registered User

Sep 27, 2005
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#8
That sounds much more like what I was thinking, but my maths are rusted away now, so cannot work it out myself.

JTD

9. ### Uhralt Registered User NAWCC Member

Sep 4, 2008
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#9
Can you show how you came to that result? I thought my calculation was correct.

Uhralt

10. ### Kevin W. Registered User NAWCC Member

Apr 11, 2002
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I had my french crystal regulator shipped to me, almost 2000 miles away. The mercury vials were removed and well packed. I think if they had been not removed they most likely would have not survived. I wish you good luck on shipping yours.

11. ### Stickler Registered User

Nov 2, 2017
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#11
Oops, I stand corrected, your calculations are correct. Sorry.

12. ### Uhralt Registered User NAWCC Member

Sep 4, 2008
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#12
No problem.

Uhralt

13. ### Andy Dervan Registered User Gibbs Literary AwardNAWCC Star FellowNAWCC Member

Oct 23, 2002
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#13
Mercury is a hazardous material and must be labelled properly to ship. You might get some questions or push back trying to ship it.

If you ship it and do not properly label and the package breaks open during shipment and mercury is spilled - it will become EPA Hazmat situation. There might be possible fines.

Why do you want to mess with this situation?

Andy Dervan