The purpose of the restriction is to to keep any given reading visible on the thermometer … Mercury expands as the temperature increases, thus raising the reading, while decreasing temperatures contract the mercury, lowering the reading. Higher temperatures cause mercury to grow longer, while low temperatures cause it to fall or shrink back down. The small silvery ball in a mercury thermometer can be dangerous if the glass breaks and the mercury is not cleaned up properly. United States Environmental Protection Agency. There are a number of different model types, sizes, and specifications, but the general operating principle is about the same in all cases. 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. However, in a gaseous state, as organomercuric compounds or as inorganic salts, it becomes a deadly toxin. EPA has launched an effort to reduce the use of mercury-filled non-fever thermometers used in industrial settings where suitable alternatives exist. Although many people commonly associate thermometers with a mercury filling, the dangerous properties of mercury have spurred manufacturers to use other liquids inside the glass gauges. Mercury can be toxic if consumed, and it can also cause skin and eye damage if touched or respiratory distress if inhaled. Common household uses of mercury thermometers include fever thermometers and oven, candy and meat thermometers. Standard mercury freezes at -37.89°F (-38.83°C). There are non-mercury thermometers with temperature and accuracy ranges equal to most mercury thermometers. The basic instrumentality is usually pretty simple. 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. I remember when I was very little we used a mercury thermometer and my mom always warned us to be very careful with them. The accuracy of a mercury thermometer varies depending on many thing. When heat rises, the liquid expand s from a bowl or bulb into the empty area, climbing up the tube. Mercury thermometer (mercury-in-glass thermometer) for measurement of room temperature. The bulb is the basis of mercury thermometers. 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. This has led some people to question the wisdom of having mercury so readily accessible in homes. In the past, mercury (MER-kure-e) thermometers were used. In place of mercury thermometers, hospitals will use the ear thermometer to take body temperature. There are four broad categories of thermometers to be aware of: Collectible mercury thermometers on eBay come in many shapes, sizes, and transduction methods. Medical doctors often use a version known as the maximum mercury thermometer to measure human body temperature. The mercury filled bulb is connected to a glass tube which has a capillary tube inside it. Some of them will deliver temperature readings within two to three seconds rather than forcing you to wait for almost a minute as with other consumer grade digital thermometers. Most modern models work this way, and though advancements have been made in terms of presentation the basics are usually about the same. A thermometer is a device that measures temperature or a temperature gradient (the degree of hotness or coldness of an object). 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. A mercury thermometer is a tool used to measure temperature. If you break a thermometer while using it or if you improperly dispose of it, the thermometer will release mercury vapors that are harmful to human and ecological health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that the use of mercury thermometers be avoided and that existing mercury thermometers be properly retired. A laboratory thermometer is recognizable by its long stem with a silver bulb at the end. 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. For broader coverage of this topic, see Temperature measurement. Some of these thermometers do not have replaceable batteries. You can read more about the impact the decision will have in NIST’s February 2011 press release announcing the change. 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. 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. In a mercury thermometer, a glass tube is filled with mercury and a standard temperature scale is marked on the tube. 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. The United States has not banned mercury in medical settings, though many advocacy groups have recommended a number of safety precautions. The mercury will evaporate and can contaminate the surrounding air and become toxic to humans and wildlife. Like everything else electronic I remember digital thermometers used to be a little bit more expensive than they are currently! Fold the paper towel and place in a zip locking bag. Mercury-driven thermometers may also be used by meteorologists to measure air temperature. Secure the bag and label it as directed by your local health or fire department. Place all broken objects on a paper towel. At home I’ve taken different temperature readings when using the ear thermometer and got different results each time, usually off by a degree or two – sometimes within the same hour. There are usually a number of different options and models available depending on the intended use. I have found that the digital thermometers that you press against your forehead are absolutely terrible. 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 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. It is also difficult to purchase mercury thermometers for home use in many of these countries. That mercury was secured in a metal tip. Using mercury thermometers is … Due to these facts, it is also obviously a substance that is difficult to clean up if ti spills. Thallium reduces the freezing point to -78°F (-61.1°C). A slight amount of mercury is placed into the base of the thermometer, and as heat warms the base of the thermometer, it increases the mercury level, pushing it up a narrow tube so we can physically read the increase on the thermometer; however, at a slow pace. Everyone knows that mercury is one of the most powerful poisons, thus, have toxicity even mercury vapor. With changes in temperature, the mercury expands and contracts, and the temperature can be read from the scale. For more information about phasing out industrial mercury thermometers, visit EPA's Phasing Out of Mercury Thermometers Used in Industrial and Laboratory Settings page. If the liquid in the thermometer bulb is any color other than silver, it is not a mercury thermometer. In a mercury thermometer, a glass tube is filled with mercury and a standard temperature scale is marked on the tube. I'm pretty sure I remember when they started phasing out mercury thermometers for at home use. The space above the mercury may be filled with nitrogengas or it may b… The disposable "hat" of an ear thermometer can be replaced, and do not need to be soaked and disinfected. I know the hospitals use some digital ear thermometers that are supposed to be rated very high for accuracy, and as a consumer you can buy these models yourself. Just the same, due to the dangers associated with mercury poisoning, many countries around the world, most notably in Europe, have banned mercury-based thermometers for medical use. Within the confines of the thermometer there isn’t usually any safety risk, but should the glass break, exposure is likely. If you have children and they are scared of having their temperature taken in a traditional method you can buy nifty plastic strip thermometers. Then when I got a little bit older digital thermometers came out and we replaced our mercury thermometer. @allenJo - Ask your doctor what medical thermometer they use. I remember using them in every lab science class I ever took in high school and college. A variety of accurate and reliable mercury-free fever thermometers are available at your local pharmacy. As part of a partnership EPA developed with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), NIST no longer provides calibration services for mercury thermometers. You should choose a thermometer that is easy to use and read. The American Academy of Pediatricians and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, have each suggested alternative temperature-measuring devices for personal use in order to reduce the risk of accidental exposure. Better accuracy for temperature measurement results. Contact your local trash collection program to see if there's a … Glass Oral Temperature for Fever Test, Oral Temperature for Adult or Baby, Rectal Axillar Temperatur… Nitrogen gas is what usually holds the mercury in place, and usually has to be inserted during the manufacturing process. This type can be used either orally, which is to say slipped under the tongue, or rectally. With changes in temperature, the mercury expands and contracts, and the temperature can be read from the scale. This is to help remove the threat of thermometer breakage and the subsequent release of mercury vapor indoors. Thick glass generally encases the temperature-sensitive liquid metal. It’s enclosed in an airtight capillary. They are common in many households, schools and medical facilities. In a thermometer, the color helps determine the type of liquid. Mercury thermometers are inexpensive, durable and accurate. If the liquid in your thermometer bulb is silver, then the liquid might be: a non-toxic compound that looks similar to mercury. Mercury thermometers may be used in many applications, including chemical experiments, water and acid baths, blood banks, ovens and incubators. If mercury freezes, nitrogen can be caught behind the metal causing the thermometer to stop working. Most thermometers hold between 0.02 ounces (0.5 g) and 0.1 ounces (3 g) of mercury. With the strips you stick on you no longer have to worry about any of that. Mercury thermometer is a glass thermometer filled with mercury as the measuring liquid. A maximum thermometer is a medical mercury-in-glass thermometer that features a carefully designed restriction in the mercury column directly ahead of the reservoir bulb. 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. @SZapper - I remember when the digital thermometers for at home use came out too. Some thermometers may still contain mercury but many typically contain less toxic liquids. 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. Some states and municipalities have passed laws or ordinances barring the manufacture, sale and/or distribution of mercury fever thermometers. In order to measure temperatures below this point, meteorologists will often mix mercury with thallium alloy. If there is no liquid in your thermometer, for example, if it uses a metallic strip or coil to measure temperature (like most meat thermometers do), it is not a mercury thermometer. Metal is usually regarded as a good conductor of heat, and Fahrenheit noticed that when that tip was placed into liquids of varying temperatures, the mercury rose and fell in the glass chamber. First of all, if the thermometer broke, we recall its physical properties and … Thermometers use a variety of technologies to measure body temperature. 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 Mercury thermometer is a type of thermometer that uses a bulb filled with mercury as the temperature sensor. An official website of the United States government. The Health Care Without Harm website presents information on specific state laws, resolutions and declarations.Exit. The volume of mercury changes slightly with temperature; the small change in volume drives the narrow mercury column a relatively long way up the tube. There are a number of different model types, sizes, and specifications, but the general operating principle is about the same in all cases. The mercury-in-glass or mercury thermometer was invented by physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in Amsterdam (1714). I really loved the idea of plastic strip thermometers because with mercury thermometers I was always worried about my children dropping the glass vial and breaking it. It’s dangerous if a mercury thermometer shatters on the ground since mercury is toxic. Mercury, which is also sometimes known as quicksilver, is a silvery liquid that responds very well to atmospheric changes, particularly temperature and barometric pressure. Old thermometers must be properly disposed of to prevent environmental contamination. 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”. Out of all the liquid-filled Thermometers, the mercury-filled ones are the most accurate. If there are any broken pieces of glass or sharp objects, pick them up with care. The mercury thermometer is a classic design for temperature measurement still used by many families. Mercury thermometers tend to be much more durable under duress. Spilled mercury can be very challenging to clean, since the loose liquid often forms rounded “balls” that can bounce and scatter across a floor or room. If you have a mercury thermometer, don't throw it in the trash. This thermometer can measure temperatures in the ranges of -30 to +300 ° C . What to do if a mercury thermometer breaks. Maybe I’m not using it properly, I don’t know. They are painless to use and disposable so you don’t have to worry about cleaning anything. The basic concept of each different type of thermometer is the same, but the style differs. Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem. The mercury in mercury thermometers is poisonous if the thermometer breaks. Mercury thermometers can be used to determine body, liquid, and vapor temperature. Each thermometer contains about.5-1.5 grams of mercury. Mercury is a liquid metal that has been used in thermometers for many years, but it is toxic if swallowed or inhaled. These can all be used orally, rectally, or in the armpit. A mercury thermometer broke: what to do? If you are choosing a battery-powered digital thermometer, choose one that contains a replaceable battery. Mercury thermometers are designed utilizing the idea that mercury expands with heat. 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. 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