I am learning about solutions and while giving an example of a liquid (solute) and a solid (solvent), my teacher told us that mercury forms an amalgam with all the metals except iron.

I want to know why this is so?


2 Answers 2


Iron does not form an amalgam readily, hence the use of iron electrodes in mercury switches. Apparently, iron does form alloys with mercury under specific conditions; see http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2011-04/1304143502.Ch.r.html.

By contrast, mercury spilled on gold (e.g. gold-alloy jewelry) soaks in immediately, discoloring the gold, and migrates further into the bulk metal in a few hours, thus restoring the color.

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    $\begingroup$ Mercury also forms an amalgam with aluminium, one of th reasons why it is banned on planes. $\endgroup$
    – user15489
    Apr 19, 2015 at 3:41

In Fe,Co,Ni The Metallic Bonds Are Very Strong Hence Don't Allow Mercury To Diffuse Into It Hence No Amalgam With Them While In Other Metals Like Ag,Au,Na etc(Soft Metals) Mercury Can Easily Diffuse And Form Metallic Bonds With Them(Ag,Au,Na,etc) Hence Amalgam Formation In Them. Note:-All Metal Mentioned Above Are Of Comparable Size Of Hg i.e. Fulfilling Amalgam formation Condition.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This is thoroughly incorrect. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Nov 11, 2018 at 20:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Vishal Gupta Is there a reason why you capitalize the first letter of every word ? $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Nov 22, 2019 at 3:02

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