Sunday, January 24, 2010

pharaoh's snake

That is very very dangerous.... be sure of what are you doing ....
"This is a piece of mercury thiocyanide. When decomposing, it makes large volume of ash, much larger than the piece of mercury thiocyanide itself.
By popular demand, here is a recipe to prepare mercury thiocyanide:

You need:
1. concentrated nitric acid (HNO3)
2. mercury (Hg) - from chemist or from thermometers
(alternative - buy mercury nitrate)
3. sodium or potassium thiocyanide (NaSCN or KSCN)

First, dissolve mercury in nitric acid to get mercury nitrate solution.

With concentrated nitric acid your mercury nitrate will probably crystallize - add
sufficient clean water to dissolve the crystals (say, 10 times the volume of nitric acid used).
(Alternatively: dissolve crystals of mercury nitrate in water)
In separate container, dissolve some sodium/potassium thiocyanide in water.
Add thiocyanide solution to mercury nitrate solution and mix it well.
Greyish suspension of insoluble mercury thiocyanide will form - wash with water a couple
of times (add water, mix, wait for mercury thiocyanide to separate at the bottom, decand/remove clear water, repeat.
Put paper coffee filter into funnel and filter out the mercury thiocyanide, dry iy - must be bone dry to use it.

Nitric acid is dangerous, handle with safety glasses, wash your hands immediately if spilled.
Vapours of mercury are dangerous - best gandle on open air.
Sodium or potassium thiocyanide is not that dangerous but don't leave solution for anyone to drink!
When dissolving the mercury in nitric acid, vapours of nitrogen oxides will form - these are poisonous if inhaled.
While decomposing, mercury thiocyanide forms fumes - don't know what they contain but make sure you burn it in open air (and NOT in your bedroom! ;-) and stand against the wind to prevent the fumes from inhaling." From: youtube description video.
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