Watch Someone Test Whether They Can Stand on Liquid Mercury

Saturday, 11 November 2017 - 4:45PM
Weird Science
Saturday, 11 November 2017 - 4:45PM
Watch Someone Test Whether They Can Stand on Liquid Mercury
YouTube/Cody'sLab
Now, while you should most certainly not handle liquid mercury unless you're an expert (consider this your "don't try this at home" warning), Cody Don Reeder, a YouTuber who goes by CodyDon, is something of an expert

Having previously dipped his hand in liquid mercury - which is dangerous especially if your hand has any open cuts, or if you breathe in too many vapors - CodyDon recently decided to try something different. Mercury is an extremely dense metal, specifically 13 times the density of water, which of course means that more things will float in a vat of liquid mercury. Including, under the right conditions, a person standing upright.

Going off Archimedes' principle, he suspected that a small tub filled with 640 pounds of liquid mercury was dense enough to support his less dense body, and that he'd float. While he dips in a bare foot for a moment, he eventually backs out (he had an open cut) and dives back in with boots. You can see the whole experiment below:



While he never goes fully above the water, nor to the point where he could comfortably walk or balance atop it like some sort of chemistry Jesus, he does manages to float on top of it, getting at least a couple inches of liquid metal between his boots and the floor of the tub. He then asks the cameraperson to give it go, and weighing less, she manages to float even higher up. Not that she has any better luck balancing on it.

What's perhaps more interesting is the strange properties of the silver goop: as he notes at the end of the video, the pressure of the mercury is always changing, and that when he'd push himself down more, the pressure would increase and he'd be forced back up. For more reasons besides this, swimming in liquid mercury would be an extremely difficult feat, much less simply standing on it without falling over.

CodyDon seems to believe that with more practice, he could improve his "standing on mercury" skills, but the combination of its heaviness and freezing temperature (the stuff he was standing in was around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, over sixty degrees past its melting point) tired him out. But beyond sticking his bare hand in the stuff, he also tried to flush it down the toilet one other time, so he may come back to the idea.

Again, don't try this at home.

Science
Science Videos
Weird Science