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AuricHydride
04-12-2014, 03:57 PM
I'm interested in creating some red vermillion from quicksilver and sulfur. Does anyone have experience with combining these two substances? I figured I could turn the sulfur into sulfuric acid by ignition and subsequent bubbling through water, and then mix the quicksilver and sulfuric acid to produce Mercury (II) Sulfate, and then heat the mixture to evolve oxygen(?) leaving black Mercury Sulfide. I've read that heating the black mineral to 500C turns it into red vermillion. Is this correct?

My name is AuricHydride and I am interested in nuclear chemistry and fashioning myself into a superconducting superfluid.

theFool
04-12-2014, 07:16 PM
My name is AuricHydride and I am interested in nuclear chemistry and fashioning myself into a superconducting superfluid. Hello AuricHydride, welcome here. We would appreciate it, if you posted your introduction in the introductions thread (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/forumdisplay.php?3-Introductions-%28new-members-go-here%29) please, thanks :)

Back to our thread here, I think that just mixing quicksilver and sulfur will make the black Mercury Sulfide. If I remember well this is supposed to be converted to the red by heating, but I can't be sure about how easy is this conversion (Hg fumes). So probably one can make it without any sulfuric acid.


I figured I could turn the sulfur into sulfuric acid by ignition and subsequent bubbling through water May I ask why to go through all this trouble and not use commercial sulfuric acid?

I'm sure you are familiar with the danger of mercury and the special equipment and experience needed when handling it, but let me add some safety warnings for other people reading this thread.
From wikipedia, about the dangers of mercury sulfate:


Inhalation of HgSO4 can result in acute poisoning: causing tightness in the chest, difficulties breathing, coughing and pain. Exposure of HgSO4 to the eyes can cause ulceration of conjunctiva and cornea. If mercury sulfate is exposed to the skin it may cause sensitization dermatitis. Lastly, ingestion of mercury sulfate will cause necrosis, pain, vomiting, and severe purging. Ingestion can result in death within a few hours due to peripheral vascular collapse. You understand that the equipment required to handle those substances is out of reach of the inexperienced amateur.

JDP
04-13-2014, 04:53 PM
I'm interested in creating some red vermillion from quicksilver and sulfur. Does anyone have experience with combining these two substances? I figured I could turn the sulfur into sulfuric acid by ignition and subsequent bubbling through water, and then mix the quicksilver and sulfuric acid to produce Mercury (II) Sulfate, and then heat the mixture to evolve oxygen(?) leaving black Mercury Sulfide. I've read that heating the black mineral to 500C turns it into red vermillion. Is this correct?

My name is AuricHydride and I am interested in nuclear chemistry and fashioning myself into a superconducting superfluid.


There is no need to complicate matters so much just to prepare mercury sulfide, either black or red. Just take whatever amount of mercury you want to use and about half its weight of sulfur and put them inside a glass or plastic round bottle (Snapple glass bottles work fine, for example) big enough to contain both substances and still have at least about 3/4 of its volume empty. Then close the bottle with its screw cap and put it on a horizontal rotating mill (those ball mills used to polish stones work just fine) and keep it rotating for about 24 hours. You will find that most of the mercury has been turned into a heavy black powder. That's the black mercury sulfide. Then you can take it out of the bottle and separate it from the residual mercury that has not been turned into the sulfide (can be re-used to make more black sulfide later.)

If you want the red mercury sulfide, take your black mercury sulfide and put it in an erlenmeyer glass flask, big enough so that the black mercury sulfide covers the flat bottom of the flask as a layer a few millimeters thick. Pour a solution of potassium hydroxide (this should be made by taking about half as much potassium hydroxide as the amount of the sulfur you used to make the black mercury sulfide and then dissolving it in about 6 times its weight of water) on the black mercury sulfide. Then put the flask on a heating plate and start gradually raising the temperature, but do not reach a boiling point. It must be hot but not too hot, you should be able to put your hand on the glass without having to immediately remove it due to pain. Every now and then take the flask and swirl the contents so that the powder is stirred, and put the flask back on the heating plate so that the powder settles down again and the heating continues. It will take several hours of this heating and stirring treatment for the black mercury sulfide to change into the red mercury sulfide. You can observe the gradual changes in color developing in the powder as it transforms from the black sulfide to the red. Stop the heating when you see that the powder has attained a fine scarlet color. Then you wash it several times with distilled water to eliminate the residual potassium lye and soluble potassium sulfides that have also been formed. Then separate the fully formed bright red mercury sulfide from the parts which have not yet been quite changed into the fine scarlet colored sulfide powder by strongly swirling the flask with some water and allowing a few seconds for the heavier and less colored parts to settle down to the bottom (you can see this happening through the glass) and then decanting into a beaker or to a filter to collect the fine scarlet powder still suspended in the recently agitated water. Repeat this several times until you have removed most of the fine scarlet powder from the heavier not quite as fine and red parts of the mercury sulfide (these less fine and colored parts can be used as an inferior grade of mercury sulfide or re-used to make more of the finer red sulfide.)