mercurous chloride

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Related to Mercury(I) chloride: calomel, mercury monochloride

mercurous chloride,


mercury (I) chloride,



chemical compound, Hg2Cl2, a white crystalline powder, very slightly soluble in water. It was once used medicinally as a purgative, cathartic, liver stimulant, and to eliminate parasitic worms, but is rarely so used today because it is readily decomposed into metallic mercury and the very poisonous mercuric chloridemercuric chloride
or mercury (II) chloride,
chemical compound, HgCl2, a white powder of colorless rhombohedral crystals, somewhat soluble in water. It is also called bichloride of mercury or corrosive sublimate. It is extremely poisonous.
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 on exposure to sunlight or if heated in the presence of moisture. Mercurous chloride is a less dangerous poison than mercuric chloride chiefly because it is much less soluble; it is highly toxic if retained in the body. Mercurous chloride is prepared by sublimation from a mixture of mercury and mercuric chloride or by precipitation from a mercurous chloride solution on adding chloride ion. It is also found in nature as horn quicksilver. The calomel electrode, often used as a reference in determining electric potentials and for measuring the pH of solutions, contains mercurous chloride, mercury metal, and potassium chloride solution.

mercurous chloride

[mər′kyu̇r·əs ′klȯr‚īd]
(inorganic chemistry)
Hg2Cl2 Odorless, nonpoisonous white crystals that darken in light; insoluble in water, alcohol, and ether; melts at 302°C; used in medicine and pyrotechnics. Also known as mercury monochloride; mercury protochloride; mild mercury chloride.