Letter | Published:

Mercury Bubbles

Naturevolume 79page99 (1908) | Download Citation



I HAVE on several occasions noticed the beautiful bubbles described by Mr. Wright and Sir William Crookes (pp. 8 and 37). On each occasion I was purifying mercury in the following way. I half filled a rather large Woulffe's bottle with mercury and poured on to it weak nitric acid. Then, in order to keep, the whole in a state of agitation, I carried a tube through one neck to the bottom of the bottle and attached a short tube to the other neck connected with a filter pump, so that air was continuously drawn through the two liquids. I have never noticed bubbles for the first hour or two, but afterwards they are formed continuously, and float for a second or so on the top of the acid before bursting. Some were certainly quite 22 mm. in diameter. From their delay in appearing I gather either that they are only formed in mercury which is fairly pure, or that the nitric acid has to be fairly well saturated with metal.

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