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Mercury Separated in my Thermometer

Q: Thermometer fix?  is there any way to fix a thermometer after the mercury separates into one or more lines?  --  chug Reply   (Ref:0898-0103)

Q: Re your problem with your thermometer   I would like to fix mine...a candy thermometer...probably alcohol in it...i tried hot water....and putting it in the freezer....I probably have to bring it up to its maximum temperature (without bursting it)...Did you have any good suggestions? Dave Martin Montreal, Quebec -- Dave & Hélène Reply

A: Thermometer Fix  I recently got an older Pepsi thermometer that had it's mercury like substance separated in several places. I removed the bulb and tube from it's housing and then placed it in a glass with warm tap water.

In the same glass I placed the probe of my digital thermometer so I could watch the temperature. I then placed some water in a pot on my stove and brought it to a boil. In small amounts I placed some of the water from the pot into the glass. I raised the temperature slowly and watched the mercury substance raise as did the digital reading.

I continued until the lowest solid area of the mercury substance in the main column reached the end of the tube and the digital thermometer read 143 degrees. The end of my tube had what appeared to be a small reservoir that appeared a little larger than the column itself. I highly suggest adding the hot water slowly, raising the temperature only a degree or two at the time, being very mindful of where the mercury substance is, and to stop adding hot water once the lowest solid area of the mercury substance in the main column reaches the top. -- "NodeWrangler  (Ref:0898-0304) Comment

Sounds as if protective glasses, gloves and other precautions should be taken. Please note that mercury is an extremely poisonous substance and great care should be taken while handling it. -- Ed.

Q: I have an alcohol thermometer with a similar problem, will Node Wrangler's solution work for it?

Answer #1: If the thermometer is in a frame then you could spin it around your head on a length of string. I have seen it done. The centrifugal force cases the alcohol to return to the bulb. If it is a naked thermometr it is probably best to wrap in bubble wrap or something similar. - Alfred A Morris

Answer #2: Drop it on a carpet or something soft, the sudden shock will join the separate sections and restore the alcohol to the bulb -- Morris Klein

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