mercuric chloride

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Related to mercuric chloride: Radium bromide, selenium tetrabromide

mercuric chloride


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. Raw egg white may be given as an antidote, since mercuric chloride reacts with egg albumin to form a nearly insoluble precipitate; medical treatment should be sought immediately. Mercuric chloride is sometimes used in dilute solution as an antiseptic for inanimate objects and as a fungicide. It is also used in preparing other mercury compounds; it reacts with mercury metal to form mercurous chloridemercurous chloride,
 mercury (I) chloride,
or calomel,
chemical compound, Hg2Cl2, a white crystalline powder, very slightly soluble in water.
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. Mercuric chloride is prepared by reacting mercury with chlorine gas or by subliming a mixture of mercuric sulfate and sodium chloride (common salt).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mercuric Chloride


(also corrosive sublimate), HgCl2, colorless crystals of the orthorhombic system. Mercuric chloride has a density of 5.44 g/cm3, a melting point of 277°C, and a boiling point of 304°C; it readily sublimes. The compound is soluble in alcohol, ether, and acetic acid; 7.4 g will dissolve in 100 g of water at 20°C and in 55 g at 100°C. Mercuric chloride forms complex compounds. It is produced either by dissolving mercury in concentrated sulfuric acid with subsequent heating of dry mercuric sulfate with sodium chloride or by the direct chlorination of mercury during heating.

Mercuric chloride is used in obtaining other compounds of mercury, for example, calomel. It also finds use as a catalyst in organic synthesis. In medicine, solutions of the compound are used as a disinfectant for skin and clothing. Mercuric chloride is very poisonous.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

mercuric chloride

[mər′kyu̇r·ik ′klȯr‚īd]
(inorganic chemistry)
HgCl2 An extremely toxic compound that forms white, rhombic crystals which sublime at 300°C and are soluble in alcohol or benzene; used for the manufacture of other mercuric compounds, as a fungicide, and in medicine and photography. Also known as bichloride of mercury; corrosive sublimate.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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