Amalgam

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MFA Acc. #: 47.1438

Description

An alloy of mercury with any other metal, such as tin, silver, gold, copper, or lead. Amalgams are used as an intermediary step in refining and plating metals. Mercury will readily combine with other metals to form a soft amalgam. For plating, the amalgam is applied to a surface, then heated to vaporize the mercury and leave behind the second metal. The mercury is recovered as it condenses on a nearby cold surface. Amalgams are used for dental fillings, silvering mirrors, and gilding.

Synonyms and Related Terms

amalgam (Dan., Sven.); Amalgam (Deut.); amalgama (Esp.); amalgame (Fr.); amalgaam (Ned.); amalgamat (Pol.); amálgama (Port.)

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 53
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • David C. Scott, Metallography and Microstructure of Ancient and Historic Metals, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1991
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Henry Hodges, Artifacts: An Introduction to Early Materials and Technology, Ronald P. Frye, Kingston, Canada, 1988
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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