When the tool is placed outdoors or in the body, the metal tip heats and mercury stretches along the length of hollow space within the tube. Like everything else electronic I remember digital thermometers used to be a little bit more expensive than they are currently! The German physicist Gabriel Fahrenheit is credited with inventing the first mercury thermometer in 1714, which he made with a glass tube attached to a small well of mercury. A mercury thermometer broke: what to do? You can read more about the impact the decision will have in NIST’s February 2011 press release announcing the change. For broader coverage of this topic, see Temperature measurement. If there are any broken pieces of glass or sharp objects, pick them up with care. Noun 1. mercury thermometer - thermometer consisting of mercury contained in a bulb at the bottom of a graduated sealed glass capillary tube marked in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit; mercury expands with a rise in temperature causing a thin thread of mercury to rise in the tube I remember they did always remind us to be careful and not to drop them. You should choose a thermometer that is easy to use and read. If you have a mercury thermometer in your home and you want to get rid of it, you need to safely dispose of it as hazardous waste. Some of these thermometers do not have replaceable batteries. Mercury thermometer (mercury-in-glass thermometer) for measurement of room temperature. Most modern thermometers are made of much stronger glass then their original counterparts, and the amount of mercury contained in each is quite low in any event. Many of these tools are used in medicine and around the home to gauge body temperature, though they can also be used outside and in more professional meteorological situations. There are a number of different model types, sizes, and specifications, but the general operating principle is about the same in all cases. The bulb is the basis of mercury thermometers. This allows temperature readings to be kept until mercury is forced back into the tip by centrifugal force, or shaking the thermometer with the head pointed toward the floor. @SZapper - I remember when the digital thermometers for at home use came out too. The thermometer usually has a small reserve of liquid mercury in its base, which is most often pressurized; above it is usually a glass or synthetic tube with a calibrated temperature scale. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that the use of mercury thermometers be avoided and that existing mercury thermometers be properly retired. He then developed a system of calibration to create a scale for easy reading. Better accuracy for temperature measurement results. Mercury thermometers are inexpensive, durable and accurate. The alternative to the mercury thermometer is the digital thermometer, which measures temperature by monitoring changes in electrical properties voltage and resistance of metals inside the device. Most people use the word “accuracy” loosely, lumping in lots of meanings that are not technically included and would be better stated as “overall accuracy”. I remember using them in every lab science class I ever took in high school and college. Thick glass generally encases the temperature-sensitive liquid metal. In some instances they’re also used in kitchens, usually as a way of monitoring warm liquids, but most modern chefs prefer more food-specific gauges. In a mercury thermometer, a glass tube is filled with mercury and a standard temperature scale is marked on the tube. Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem. I have found that the digital thermometers that you press against your forehead are absolutely terrible. I know that the ear thermometer has become the instrument of choice as physicians got away from the more invasive rectal thermometer, but I wonder if the they are as effective as they claim to be. However, in a gaseous state, as organomercuric compounds or as inorganic salts, it becomes a deadly toxin. Mercury-driven thermometers may also be used by meteorologists to measure air temperature. Mercury, which is a chemical element, rises and falls in response to temperature changes, and watching where it stops along the scale provides a reading of how hot or cold a particular substance is. But, in fact, a crashed thermometer with correct and well-adjusted actions is nothing more than an unpleasant situation that can be resolved on its own. There are usually a number of different options and models available depending on the intended use. Mercury is one of the most familiar materials used in liquid thermometers. Standard mercury freezes at -37.89°F (-38.83°C). Thallium reduces the freezing point to -78°F (-61.1°C). Out of all the liquid-filled Thermometers, the mercury-filled ones are the most accurate. I'm pretty sure I remember when they started phasing out mercury thermometers for at home use. These thermometers work exactly like bandages and you stick it to your child's skin for a few moments and it gives you a temperature reading. Some thermometers may still contain mercury but many typically contain less toxic liquids. Due to these facts, it is also obviously a substance that is difficult to clean up if ti spills. The oldest technology is the mercury-in-glass thermometer. First of all, if the thermometer broke, we recall its physical properties and … Metallic mercury in its liquid state is relatively harmless when confined. There are non-mercury thermometers with temperature and accuracy ranges equal to most mercury thermometers. Mercury expands as the temperature increases, thus raising the reading, while decreasing temperatures contract the mercury, lowering the reading. This type can be used either orally, which is to say slipped under the tongue, or rectally. EPA has launched an effort to reduce the use of mercury-filled non-fever thermometers used in industrial settings where suitable alternatives exist. The accuracy of alcohol thermometers is less than mercury thermometers as alcohols are more prone towards evaporation, capillary separation and, polymerization potential, whereas the measurement of mercury thermometer is more accurate as mercury is susceptible to sufficient expansion to observation regarding temperature changes from 0.1° which helps graduate the thermometer. The mercury will evaporate and can contaminate the surrounding air and become toxic to humans and wildlife. This thermometer can measure temperatures in the ranges of -30 to +300 ° C . They are common in many households, schools and medical facilities. Mercury thermometers tend to be much more durable under duress. Other liquids, such as kerosene or ethanol , may also be used in these types of thermometers. The ear thermometer is cleaner and less invasive than an oral thermometer, which is what it has going for it, but if I can’t be sure that the temperature is accurate it’s not much use. 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