NILERED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NILERED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mercury distillation. Close-up of part of a distillation apparatus being used to purify liquid mercury by boiling it and recondensing it. The mercury is placed in a distillation flask (off screen, covered in insulating foil partly seen here) and heated using a heating mantle. This distillation was carried out under a vacuum, which lowered the boiling point of the mercury from 356 degrees Celsius to around 263 degrees Celsius. The resulting vapour passes up through an adapter (centre left) and into an air condenser (centre right). The mercury is seen condensing, forming a silvery liquid at centre, and flowing downwards to the right into a receiving flask (off screen), leaving impurities behind in the flask.
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