Advantages And Disadvantages of a Mercury Thermometer
Even though it’s the era of the digital technology, we can’t completely forget about the analog instruments. As an example; the moisture meters now come in digital format. Still, many professionals prefer to use an analog moisture meter. In the same way, we have digital Thermometers now; but analog ones also exist in the market. Did you know that the Analog Thermometer is the one being widely used today? What if I ask you a question? What is your favorite Thermometer type? I am sure many will say it’s the classic Mercury Thermometer. I love Mercury Thermometers. Well, they have downsides and will discuss them in this article.
Out of all the liquid-filled Thermometers, the mercury-filled one is the most accurate. Well, to me; it has something attractive with the glass tube filled with a shining silver color liquid. Definitely, the Mercury Thermometer is better than the alcohol-filled meters (ignoring the health concerns only for now.) OK, now let’s talk about the topic of the article. What are the advantages of a Mercury Thermometer?
OK, I am comparing the liquid-filled types here. Durability is one of the most important things we consider when buying anything. When comparing the prices, the spirit-filled meters are cheaper than the mercury ones. Anyway, the spirit-filled ones break easily. If you break the spirit-filled Thermometer by mistake, impossible to rejoin it. The Mercury Thermometer, on the other hand, is more durable under general conditions.
Out of all the liquid-filled Thermometers, the mercury-filled ones are the most accurate. High thermal conductivity, high sensitivity to temperature, and good visibility make mercury the best for liquid-filled Thermometers. Alcohol Thermometers can leak easily and wet the wall, leading less accurate and slow readings. Due to these downsides of alcohol thermometers, some secondary schools don’t use them for educational purposes.
* Temperature Range:
High-temperature range compared to the alcohol thermometers is another advantage of the mercury types. Also, the Mercury Thermometers are smaller compared to the alcohol types. Well, that’s because mercury expands less than other liquids. Imagine you are taking the temperature of boiling water with an alcohol meter. Because alcohol expands more compared to mercury, those meters are relatively big. In other words, Mercury Thermometers are compact and easy to take with you. Also, the boiling point of mercury is higher than that of alcohol. So, you can measure higher temperature with a Mercury Thermometer.
OK, now let’s talk about the disadvantages of Mercury Thermometers. Well, the obvious disadvantage is the toxicity. Mercury poisoning is a different chapter, so it would take another article to describe it in details. Anyway, I am giving you the link to the Wikipedia page related to mercury poisoning If a mercury thermometer breaks, cleaning it is a nightmare. Another disadvantage of Mercury Thermometers is the low freezing point, making them less practical for cold temperature measuring. So, if you don’t want an accurate reading, purchasing an alcohol Thermometer would be enough. In summary, Alcohol Thermometers are safe to use than the mercury ones. Make sure to never use mercury meters for taking body temperatures.
Some final words:
Even though the mercury meters have many advantages over other liquid-filled types, they have unignorable disadvantages. So, think twice before you buy it. Anyway, you can use it safely for other purposes, without using it for taking body temperatures.