• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Amalgam

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,764
Reaction score
562
Location
Pembrokeshire
I was sorting out the shed the other day and I came across a couple of small bars of metal stamped "Amalgam" which if I remember correctly came from my great uncle who worked in the MOD Royal Engineers. Not really sure what they are except they feel a bit heavy like lead but much harder and less bendy, a quick google of the name suggests it could be some kind of Mercury mixture for dentistry but I'm kind of curious if any of you boys have a clue what it's actually used for since it probably came from the MOD as it seemed he had a habit of pinching stuff from there! :lol:

If anyone wants pictures I'm more than happy to get a couple but it's literally a greyish lead-looking bar than has "AMALGAM" stamped into it.

Alternatively, you could tell me how long I have to live after touching it! :lol:
 

jimmy_s

Established Member
Joined
10 Nov 2013
Messages
255
Reaction score
22
Location
Dunfermline
I'd think its probably bars of the alloy that was mixed with mercury to form amalgam. Can't think why anyone would want a bar of finished stuff complete with mercury.
 

CHJ

Established Member
Joined
31 Dec 2004
Messages
20,130
Reaction score
74
Location
Cotswolds UK
Probably Cerrobend; low melting point alloy used to fill pipework whilst forming intricate bends.

Once pipes formed and trial fitted then they would be placed in hot water bath to drain alloy out.

We used it extensively on trials aircraft modification for forming re-routed Aluminium breathing oxygen pipework and fuel lines to prevent them collapsing in the bending rollers.

Easily proved by placing a piece in hot water.
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,764
Reaction score
562
Location
Pembrokeshire
CHJ":3w2kp1gn said:
Easily proved by placing a piece in hot water.
I'll give that a shot when I get around to it!

In a non-food vessel of course.
 

sunnybob

wysiwyg
Joined
11 Oct 2014
Messages
8,399
Reaction score
164
Location
cyprus
I dont believe mercury is dangerous except in vapour form. As a kid I lived near all sorts of heavy industry factories, and we often found tiny balls of mercury laying in the cobble stones and played with it a lot.
As a teen I had all my molars filled with the old black mercury amalgum, and so far, I've manage to stay out of the looney bin.
But "mad as a hatter" is a very true phrase because they used to steam felt hats to hold their shape by using mercury vapour.
So dont eat it and dont sniff it and youll be fine.
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
2,033
Reaction score
155
Location
Warwick
Hmmm. Having had two colleagues who died young of liver cancer after engineering experiments involving large quantities of mercury, I wouldn't trust it in any form. I think you are right that the vapour is the dangerous form, but it vaporises so easily ...
 

sunnybob

wysiwyg
Joined
11 Oct 2014
Messages
8,399
Reaction score
164
Location
cyprus
Playing with mercury in a lab, doing strange things to it, must significantly increase risk obviously.
But mercury boils at 360c, which cant even be achieved in a domestic oven so you would have to deliberately heat it to get vapour..
At school in the 60's we were even shown it in science and allowed to handle it for short periods (I expect that isnt done anymore :roll: :shock: ). A chance encounter with liquid mercury wouldnt send me running from the room.
 

CHJ

Established Member
Joined
31 Dec 2004
Messages
20,130
Reaction score
74
Location
Cotswolds UK
There is no Mercury in Cerrobend, but other constituents such as lead require caution.

sunnybob":2dymraou said:
…..
But mercury boils at 360c, which cant even be achieved in a domestic oven so you would have to deliberately heat it to get vapour..
.
Mercury does not need to Boil to cause health risks, even workers in dental practice have been found to have significantly higher levels of contamination and are advised to wear decent foot coverings and take precautions against heavy vapours that can be absorbed through the skin. In fact some countries have banned the use of mercury amalgam for dental use because they considered it an occupational health risk.

I personally have handled large quantities of Mercury when servicing and calibrating Airfield Reference barometers in the early 1960's, we used to vacuum suck 2-3 Lbs of mercury through shammy leather stacks to clean out any oxide contamination.

Thankfully in subsequent years more enlightened 'standard' practices evolved along with the restrictions of handling Beryllium Copper and its oxides, Trichlorethylene, Carbon tetrachloride etc.
 
Top