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Thread: Mercury, charchoal and peat

  1. #1 Mercury, charchoal and peat 
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    Hello everyone. I'm new around here and I don't really know much about chemistry, but I am in dire need of assistance with a few questions that have been bothering me.
    1. Is there any vital and obvious connection at all between mercury and charchoal? The only thing that I found is that the planet Mercury has charchoal color. But what about the elemenst? I heard it said that charchoal is the only substance that can contain mercury and the substance that is used to cure people who get mercury poisoning? Is this true?
    2. Is there any connection between mercury and peat or whiskey (maybe the whiskeis that are counted as "the good ones" like Laphroaig, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich etc)?

    If it would be possible I would really need some reference where to look for such information.

    Thanks and best regards!


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  3. #2  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beren View Post
    Hello everyone. I'm new around here and I don't really know much about chemistry, but I am in dire need of assistance with a few questions that have been bothering me.
    1. Is there any vital and obvious connection at all between mercury and charchoal? The only thing that I found is that the planet Mercury has charchoal color. But what about the elemenst? I heard it said that charchoal is the only substance that can contain mercury and the substance that is used to cure people who get mercury poisoning? Is this true?
    2. Is there any connection between mercury and peat or whiskey (maybe the whiskeis that are counted as "the good ones" like Laphroaig, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich etc)?

    If it would be possible I would really need some reference where to look for such information.

    Thanks and best regards!
    This seems a strange question. It might help if you could say why you ask. All I'm aware of is that activated carbon is used to scrub mercury from flue gas. So clearly it can adsorb it. Peat has a lot of carbon in it so possibly it can do the same, I don't know.


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  4. #3  
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    I agree with ex chemist, why do you ask? I know of no direct connection. Activated charcoal is used to treat poisoning with a great many things. It binds to chemicals in the gut and keeps them from being absorbed into the body. It is usually given by mouth, as a fine powder, mixed in liquid with a powerful laxative to get it out of the body quickly after it does its work. I don't know what is done to charcoal to activate it. Once the poisons are absorbed into the blood charcoal is useless as a treatment.
    Peat is basicaly very soft coal. It is used in the british isles as fuel. Grain, in that wet climate, often needs to be dried inorder to keep and this is done over peat fires which may impart a peat smoke flavor to it. Also the whisky is processed using peat fires in that part of the world. Whiskey barrels are sometimes chared on the inside to mellow the whiskey. I don't think Scotch is processed this way, Bourbon is.
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  5. #4  
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    As long as we are playing free association, charcoal is the main ingredient for gunpowder and mercury fulminate used to be used in primers.
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  6. #5  
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    Charcoal isn't the only substance that can contain mercury. Copper and other metals will react with mercury, forming an amalgam. Fine copper is sometimes used to collect spilled mercury if my memory serves me well.

    A connection between mercury and charcoal is that both can be used for the recovery of gold. In one case, mercury is contacted with ground ore containing fine gold with which it reacts, forming an amalgam. The gold is later recovered from this amalgam and the mercury is recycled.

    In the the other case, gold dissolved in cyanide solution is adsorbed onto activated charcoal, from which it is later recovered. The activated charcoal is recycled.

    Gold mining - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    I am still thinking about connections with peat or whiskey



    How about this: whiskey is made by distillation and this requires a thermometer and thermometers commonly contain mercury.
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