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Mercury Instead of water

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Senior Member
Dec 30, 2000
New Jersey
I was wondering how a mercury run system would be? And yes I know mercury is dangerous. Lets say you had a a very strong pump, such as a Mag Drive 24 or a Little Giant TE7MD-HC ( Both of which do over 2000gph @ 0' head), since this stuff is thicker than water (would it be possible to dilute it a bit with something else?). Would there be any improvement? Am I so far off its not even funny? Opinions/Comments-
Well I dont think water and mercury will mix because of the different densities like oil and water dont mix And will it effect the copper waterblock and radiator? Is it conductive? just some things to keep in mind but it just might work who knows.
You can't dilute Mercury, but why would you want to. It has such greater thermal conductivity than water, just accept a slower flow rate. I imagine there are pumps that deliver low flow rates at high lift. That's what you need. I would also imagine you want to minimize any lift wherever possible in the flow path in the case. This would probably be a system where you would not want a reservoir. Sure Mercury is conductive and toxic. That just means you have to use a good, "bullet proof", design technique. If you have ever seen a Wave Solder Machine in action, you can see an example of a pump with no moving parts. Molten solder is propelled through the system by inducing a current in it (since its conductive) with a electromagnetic coil. I'd bet you can do the same with Mercury, but what a design challenge.
All told, a closed loop, liquid cooling system using Mercury could be the ultimate solution, but requires some research and meticulous build practices. See the kind of input you get from someone who can't sleep at 03:30 in the morning. :D

lol, see the kind of posting you get from someone that can't sleep at 5:00 in the morning? So your saying the mercury could be moved with electric current? But then wouldn't it fry the processor when it went into the copper waterblock?
No electric current does not flow through the stream of the Mercury. If it did, Wave soldering would fry the components on the board you were soldering. It's a magnetic flux that you are inducing. Most people only associate magnetic properties with ferous materials, but you can magnetize non-ferous, electrically conductive materials with a field generated by an AC current. This kind of propulsion is referred to as Magnetic Drive, not to be confused with the MAG Drive brand of water pumps.

Now that's a good idea, once again from the inventor of the "Hoot Chute" :)

I don't think the low flowrate would that bad, as mercury has much higher thermal conductivity. If it had the same flowrate as we need in water cooling, it wouldn't absorb as much heat as with a lower flowrate, correct?

Also, I think that ALL the tubings (piping, more likely...) would need to be soldered to be supertight, as any leaks would have horrendous side-effects.
It's very hard to try and collect "free" mercury... Just break a mercury-based temperature meter and you'll see: it moves by itself...

I couldn't find ANY articles describing the use of mercury in cooling a CPU. But I might have been too "lazy", as there was >10k hits.
Another thing to consider, would the mercury react with copper or aluminum? If so that would be some dangerous galvanic corosion.
mercury I pretty positive would not react, well mercury essentially doesn't react but what it does do is immagalmate metals such as gold and platinum. I don't think this happens with the lighter metals such as copper though. I had thought about this and one, you need one kick @$$ pump that is actually rated to pump mercury(A pound of mercury is like 1 or two ounces) and a pretty high cost to get that much mercury.It wouldn't be too dangerous, unless you have a leak because well, mercury doesn't soak. As long as you had something to get rid of the vapors(that's whats harmful) this could certainly be possible, but I am not sure how much it would cost and whether some of the enviromental agencies would even let you do it. Someone will be might suspicious when someone is ordering a gallon of mercury.
William (Jul 15, 2001 12:27 p.m.):
(A pound of mercury is like 1 or two ounces) .

LOL! Wanna try that again William?

I agree with what you said in the rest of it, but this little typo struck me as funny. I am not trying to pick on you, but I am trying to pick myself off the floor.
Other problems related to mercury cooled rig...

1...Its VERY heavy and would drag pipes down and loosen fittings.
2...I could imagine that there would be EMI problems with using mercury.
3...If ANY of this stuff leaked, i mean in the minutest amount, run. The vapours kill and its conductive too.
Red October Principle

OC Community,

This mag drive you speak of is the principle magneto hydro dynamics is based on, remember "The Hunt for Red October" the caterpillar drive used this principle to move water (not mercury, but it could be done). One can predict the force exterted on the liquid by holding your thumd straight up your first finger straight forward (ala gun) and the middle finger perpendicular to the other two, the first finger represents elecric current, the middle represents the magnetic field and the thumb represents the force exterted on the substance in question.

Ridenow (Jul 15, 2001 05:22 p.m.):
William (Jul 15, 2001 12:27 p.m.):
(A pound of mercury is like 1 or two ounces) .

LOL! Wanna try that again William?

I agree with what you said in the rest of it, but this little typo struck me as funny. I am not trying to pick on you, but I am trying to pick myself off the floor.

aren't there so many ounces of water in a cup? whatever, its like the little unit of a cup thats what I was reffering too, thought they are ounces, like fluid ounces. But yes, I can see where the confusion would happen.
you could use copper pipes they wouldnt get bogged down by the mercury and you could solder almost every joint so you wouldnt get leaks.
mercury is a weird substance though, sitting long term in copper it is very likely to immagalmate itself through. Mercury is used in Gold mining for this reason.
I was just going to post this exact same question only a few days ago, when I decided that it probably wouldn't work... But since it's here, I guess someone thinks like me!

OK. I was actually thinking about using any liquid metal, not just mercury. I was going to mention the possibility of mercury in my post, but it would be mostly concerned with Gallium. I dunno if it is poisunus or not, but it is another metal that is liquid (at a reletivly low temp). I first found out about it in my science book, and they had a picture of someone holding some, with it melting in their hand. It isn't liquid at room temp (I think) but melts at a really low temp. A page about it is here....

Any comments? Would it be better than mercury? I was figuring you could use some kind of heater to melt it, and then get it into your "metal cooling" setup.

Just another suggestion....
NO!!!! DON"T USE GALIUM! Unless you keep it just above room temp(i think Galium melts in the upper 80s low 90sF) then it is a solid. That would suck to have it solidify in your radiator wouldn't it? :D I also don't think Galium would conduct that well given its family history(Carbon, Silicon). I think mercury is an ok idea, but I think cost and performance becomes an issue. You will not be able to pump it with a regular water pump, you will need one bad @SS pump to do it.
First off you wont believe how many people will tell you mercury is dangerous

Here is my 1:30 am brainstorm on how to use it

i figured you don’t have to use it threw the whole system

If any of you have ever seen a heart lung machine you’ll know what I’m talking about for a Mercury pump basically it just squeezes the tube and pushes the substance threw

Also in the mercury water heat exchange you could have a water jet shooting down into the Mercury to kind of mix things up a little and make sure to put the water inlet and outlet high enough that they don't get any Mercury in them

Also for added affect you could use the sunny d water block to cut out every thing between the die and the mercury

ps for some reason ms paint saved all my gray ( mercury) as a light blue purple

use your imagination
i would be very weary of having mercury touch the die.

*modify* mercury is very dangerous if you breathe the vapors in.
Ok, lets see what we have established so far-
1. Don't eat, breath, bath in, or smoke mercury...cause its dangerous! (dun dun dun)
2. It may immagalmate (is this a real word?) itself through the copper.
3. It weights a lot.
4. May require special pump (Hoot, if you any place where I could read about this pump or how it works, I would like to read it)
5. If it worked it would kick ***!

#3 concerns me the most, because it will lead to #1. I wonder how much this stuff cost?