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Name: Deepak
Status: student
Grade: 12+
Country: India
Date: Summer 2013

Almost all metals can form amalgams with mercury (Hg). Why is it that iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) cannot form amalgams with mercury?

Iron does not dissolve in mercury. However, aluminum does form an amalgam. I used aluminum amalgam in my thesis work.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D., M.Ed. Department of Physics and Astronomy

Hi Deepak,

Aluminum most certainly can form an amalgam with mercury, providing special methods are used to break through the aluminum's protective layer of aluminum oxide that normally blocks the mercury from contacting the aluminum under the oxide layer.

Check out the details here.....

However, I cannot tell you why Iron and some other "transition" metals, as well as platinum, cannot form an amalgam with mercury.

Regards, Bob Wilson

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