How can I turn mercury metal into mercury oxide? I know that many metals will react with oxygen if enough heat is supplied in the presence of oxygen. If I heated up mercury enough and also supplied oxygen from my oxygen tank, would that result in mercury oxide? Also how about lead? Thank you

  • $\begingroup$ Which lead oxide do you want to make ? $\endgroup$
    – J. LS
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


If you give enough oxygen to let it react to mercury, it still won't work just like copper and sliver. Because they are unreactive metals.

However, it will form mercury oxide when mercury and oxygen react at 350°C as the chemical equation below.

$\ce{2Hg + O_2 -> 2HgO}$

P.S: The mercury oxide will decompose back to mercury and oxygen at 400°C.

Lead is a rather more reactive subatances. So, try burning it. If it don't work, means you need a higher temperature.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much! So how much oxygen would I need? Could I just use a bernzomatic oxygen tank and blow oxygen onto the mercury while heating the mercury in a crucible? And would lead work the same way? $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2015 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ 1) Remember that one mole of oxygen gas react with two mole mercury atoms. If you are thinking about how much to use, try to learn a bit about stoichiometry. $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2015 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ 2) For an advise, use a boiling tube instead of a crucible. The mercury oxide might escape when you use a crucible. $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2015 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ I would strongly advise against this mercury(II) oxide synthesis. Metallic mercury is highly toxic, and its low vapour pressure at room temperature is already an exposure hazard. Heating it to 350°C means heating to its boiling point, making it a much larger containment problem. A better idea seems to be reacting the mercury with excess concentrated nitric acid, creating $\ce{Hg(NO3)2}$, which can decompose thermally to $\ce{HgO}$. This is also hazardous, however, as $\ce{Hg(NO3)2}$ is highly soluble in water. Why do you even want to perform this synthesis? $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2015 at 13:13

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