Thermodynamics: The 2016 advent calendar
Day 23

Making a hammer from mercury

Olympia Brown explores the relationship between temperature, entropy and hammers.

Mercury is beautiful. It’s the only metal that’s a liquid at room temperature and pressure. In its liquid state the atoms have enough thermal energy to overcome the rigid metallic bonds that confine most metals to solids at room temperature.

The third law of thermodynamics links temperature and entropy. Olympia Brown explores this relationship, freezing mercury into its less-familiar solid state to make a tiny hammer, in the name of science. 

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