Neha Patil (Editor)

Mercury sulfide

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Formula  HgS
Melting point  580 °C
Molar mass  232.66 g/mol
Density  8.1 g/cm³
Mercury sulfide Toxic Chemistry Mercury Poisoning

experiments with Cinnabar

Mercury sulfide, mercuric sulfide, mercury sulphide, or mercury(II) sulfide is a chemical compound composed of the chemical elements mercury and sulfur. It is represented by the chemical formula HgS. It is virtually insoluble in water.


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Crystal structure

HgS is dimorphic with two crystal forms:

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  • red cinnabar (α-HgS, trigonal, hP6, P3221), is the form in which mercury is most commonly found in nature.
  • black, metacinnabar (β-HgS), is less common in nature and adopts the zinc blende (T2d-F43m) crystal structure.
  • Crystals of red, α-HgS, are optically active. This is caused by the Hg-S helices in the structure.

    Preparation and chemistry

    Mercury sulfide Bayshore History 7th GradeQueen Elizabeth

    β-HgS is precipitated as a black powder when H2S is bubbled through solutions of Hg(II) salts. β-HgS is unreactive to all but concentrated acids.
    Mercury metal is produced from the cinnabar ore by roasting in air and condensing the vapour.


    Mercury sulfide Mercurymercury sulphide WebElements Periodic Table

    When α-HgS is used as a red pigment, it is known as vermilion. The tendency of Vermilion to darken has been ascribed to conversion from red α-HgS to black β-HgS. However β-HgS was not detected at excavations in Pompeii, where originally red walls darkened, and was attributed to the formation of Hg-Cl compounds (e.g., corderoite, calomel, and terlinguaite) and calcium sulfate, gypsum.

    Mercury sulfide MercuryII sulfide red 99 SigmaAldrich


    Mercury sulfide Wikipedia