Red Liquid Mercury is a discredited substance, most likely a hoax perpetrated by con artists who sought to take advantage of gullible buyers on the black market for arms.
These con artists described it as a substance used in the creation of nuclear weapons; because of the secrecy surrounding nuclear weapons development, it is difficult to disprove their claims completely. However, all samples of alleged “red mercury” analyzed in the public literature have proven to be well-known, common substances of no interest to weapons makers.
History Red Liquid Mercury
References to red mercury first appeared in major Soviet and western media sources in the late 1980s. The articles were never specific as to what exactly red mercury was, but nevertheless claimed it was of great importance in nuclear bombs, or that it was used in the building of boosted fission weapons.
Almost as soon as the stories appeared, people started attempting to buy it. At that point, the purported nature of the substance started to change, and eventually turned into anything the buyer happened to be interested in. As New Scientist reported in 1992, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory report outlined that:
When red mercury first appeared on the international black market 15 years ago, the supposedly top secret nuclear material was ‘red’ because it came from Russia. When it resurfaced last year in the formerly communist states of Eastern Europe it had unaccountably acquired a red colour. But then, as a report from the US Department of Energy reveals, mysterious transformations are red mercury’s stock in trade.
The report, compiled by researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, shows that in the hands of hoaxers and conmen, red mercury can do almost anything the aspiring Third World demagogue wants it to. You want a short cut to making an atom bomb? You want the key to Soviet ballistic missile guidance systems? Or perhaps you want the Russian alternative to the anti-radar paint on the stealth bomber? What you need is red mercury.
Properties of Red Liquid Mercury
Several common mercury compounds are indeed red, such as mercury sulfide (from which the bright-red pigment vermilion was originally derived), mercury(II) oxide, and mercury(II) iodide, and others are explosive, such as mercury(II) fulminate. No use for any of these compounds in nuclear weapons has been publicly documented. “Red mercury” could also be a code name for a substance that contains no mercury at all.
A variety of different items have been chemically analyzed as putative samples of “red mercury” since the substance first came to the attention of the media, but no single substance was found in these items. A sample of radioactive material was seized by German police in May 1994. This consisted of a complex mixture of elements, including about 10% by weight plutonium, with the remainder consisting of 61% mercury, 11% antimony, 6% oxygen, 2% iodine and 1.6% gallium.
The reason why somebody had assembled this complex mixture of chemicals is unknown; equally puzzling was the presence of fragments of glass and brush bristles, suggesting that someone had dropped a bottle of this substance and then swept it up into a new container.
In contrast, an analysis reported in 1998 of a different “red mercury” sample concluded that this sample was a non-radioactive mixture of elemental mercury, water and mercury(II) iodide, which is a red colored chemical. Similarly, another analysis of a sample recovered in Zagreb in November 2003 reported that this item contained only mercury.
One formula that had been claimed previously for red mercury was Hg2Sb2O7 (mercury(II) pyroantimonate), but no antimony was detected in this 2003 sample
Red Liquid Mercury SPECIFICATION
– Prime Virgin Silver liquid Mercury = 99.9999% Pure by wt min.
– Free from heavy metals
– Packing iron cylinder ( 34.5)kg net weight
– Physical State: Liquid
– Appearance: silver
– Odor: odorless
– PH: Not available.
– Vapor Pressure: 0.002 mm Hg at 25C
– Vapor Density: 7.0
– Evaporation Rate: Not available.
– Viscosity: 15.5 mPat 25 dig C
– Boiling Point: 356.72 dig C
– Freezing/Melting Point:-38.87 dig C
– Decomposition Temperature: Not available.
– Solubility: Insoluble.
– Specific Gravity/Density: 13.59 (water=1)
– Molecular Formula :Hg
– Molecular Weight: 200.59