Useful Tips

How to fix a mercury thermometer


Notice that there are empty spaces between the mercury in the thermometer? Now I will show you how to fix this misunderstanding.

The most common reason mercury is separated inside a thermometer is a drop. A sharp hit on the floor leads to the fact that part of the mercury literally "comes off" from the rest and an empty gap forms between them.

First of all, most people start to shake the thermometer frantically, trying to knock the breakaway part back into place. Sometimes it even helps. But more often there is no result, or the gap between mercury even increases.

Mercury split: what to do?

Here's a simple and effective way to get mercury back in place. Turn on the warm water from the tap (but not hot!) And substitute a thermometer under a stream of water.

ATTENTION: the water temperature should be no more than 40 degrees, otherwise there is a risk of breaking the thermometer permanently. It is best to turn on cold water and gradually add hot water, keeping the thermometer under running water. As soon as the mercury level begins to rise, stop. If the temperature is not enough, slightly increase the temperature of the water.

Your task is to raise the mercury level in the thermometer so that the separated parts of the mercury combine. After that, shake the thermometer (bring down the temperature) and heat the thermometer under water again. Everything, after that the thermometer should work fine!

Please note that sometimes after the separation of mercury, the thermometer starts to trick. Therefore, we recommend that after this, measure the temperature and check the readings. If you notice that the thermometer began to show incorrect data, it is better to dispose of it and buy a new one.

Method 1 Cooling

Perhaps this is the easiest way to restore a mercury column. But note that this method does not always work.

  1. 1 Put the thermometer in the refrigerator (ideally in the freezer). With sufficient cold, mercury (or other indicator fluid) should easily rise into the tank. If you cannot use the refrigerator or freezer, or the method did not work, read the following steps.

Method 2 Heating

This method may not work for you the first time.

  1. 1 Put the thermometer in the sink.
  2. 2 Gradually heat the thermometer tank with a hairdryer. Mercury rises to the top of the pillar and connects.
  3. 3 Let the thermometer gradually cool to room temperature.
  4. 4 If you need to repeat the procedure several times, gradually heat and cool the thermometer. Do not overheat, as the thermometer may explode.

Method 3 Shaking

This method is quite reliable, as it is often used in hospitals and other medical institutions. But while shaking, you can drop the thermometer and it will break, and the mercury will flow out.

  1. 1 Hold the thermometer firmly near the top so that the mercury reservoir (or other indicator fluid) points down.
  2. 2 Quickly shake the thermometer down and sharply move your hand to its original position. Repeat several times so that the mercury is at the very bottom and the column is completely gone.

Method 4 Throw

This method is most likely to have the best results, but you have the risk of breaking the thermometer if dropped from too high a height or on a hard surface.

  1. 1 Hold the thermometer upright with the tank down.
  2. 2 Drop the thermometer onto a bed, pillow or towel folded 8 (or more) times. It is recommended to drop the thermometer from a height of not more than 30-60 cm.