Cinnabar – Mercury Sulfide Powder

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A fine, bright-scarlet powder that is deadly if ingested.

Mercury sulfide is also known as cinnabar and metacinnabar, and is used as a pigment in paints and sealing wax. It is obtained by heating mercury metal with elemental sulfur, and also by the addition of zinc powder to accelerate the reaction.

It is stable under normal conditions, but not incompatible with acids and strong oxidizing agents. It also does not react with halogens or metal oxides.

The black form of mercury sulfide is prepared by passing hydrogen sulfide into a solution of HgCl2 with the formation of a pale yellow precipitate, which then converts to amorphous black HgS on further treatment with H2S.

In nature, the red form of mercury sulfide is found as a-HgS (hexagonal, hP6, P3221), which is optically active due to its helices in the crystal structure. Alternatively, the black form of mercury sulfide may be produced by the reaction of hydrogen sulfide with the b-HgS of mercury.

Cinnabar is the common name for mercury sulfide and can be extracted from a variety of ores. It is an odorless, solid, red or black mineral that can be crushed and ground to produce a fine powder of brilliant scarlet color.

Cinnabar is poisonous if swallowed and should not be handled by children. It should be stored in a cool, dry place and should not be disposed of without proper protection. This product can be used as a color pigment in paints, but it should not be mixed with other dyes.

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