Mercuric iodide

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A dense, bright red powder that is used as a paint preservative. Mercuric iodide was used for a short period in the early 19th century as a red pigment but it fades to yellow in sunlight.

Synonyms and Related Terms

mercury (II) iodide; red mercury iodide; iodine scarlet; royal scarlet; brilliant scarlet; pure scarlet

Chemical structure

Mercuric iodide.jpg

Other Properties

Soluble in hot ethanol, acetone and ethyl acetate. Slightly soluble in ether, chloroform, carbon disulfide. Insoluble in water.

Composition HgI2
CAS 7774-29-0
Melting Point 259
Density 6.28
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 454.399
Refractive Index 2.748, 2.455
Boiling Point ~350

Hazards and Safety

Highly toxic by ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption. Sensitive to light.

Fisher Scientific: MSDS

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 5932
  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: 'Pigment'
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index=2.748, 2.455