Talk:Red mercury

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Elements (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is supported by WikiProject Elements, which gives a central approach to the chemical elements and their isotopes on Wikipedia. Please participate by editing this article, or visit the project page for more details.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the importance scale.
WikiProject Military history (Rated B-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
B This article has been rated as B-Class on the quality assessment scale.

Comment 1[edit]

Appears to be quoted from an on-line survivalism book[1].:

Western law enforcement officials claim they have confiscated substances passed off as red mercury which were nothing more than common mercury mixed with brick dust. In July 1994, FBI Director Louis Freeh said, regarding illegal black market sales of illicit nuclear materials: "Most were frauds where swindlers tried to sell harmless red mercury as more highly enriched radioactive material."

I can only find this quote at nine different sites via Google, so I'm sort of doubting the authenticity of it.

In 1993, Russian General Y. Negin claimed his country had developed a low-yield nuclear weapon "in which a doubling of yield is achieved with a hundredfold reduction of weight compared to existing weapons."

I can't find any supporting material for this on Google:

In 1968, E.I. duPont de Nemours produced a powdered red mercury compound. When it was irradiated and pressured into a gel, the density substantially increased.

Comment 2[edit]

This article implies by its wording that red mercury exists, whereas the few references to it seem either to question its actual existence, or to talk about it in tones that imply a "fact-lite" agenda behind them. The latter type, in my unscientific but highly skeptical opinion, have the feel of articles promoting the "reality" of cold fusion and of diatribes accusing governments of mass conspiracies. While time and further research may prove them to be accurate, they don't stand well as fact, and this is an encyclopedia, not a rumor mill.

Wouldn't it be better to start this article with the statement that red mercury is a general term used to identify a theoretical substance that can induce fusion explosions without requiring the usual fission starter explosion? One could then go on to list the specific theories; e.g., that it is a hoax, a codename for improved fission materials, a Soviet discovery that governments are keeping under wraps, etc. It might also be good to provide links organized by which theories they promote. Just my two cents. -- Jeff Q 10:52, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Andy Landells: I don't know whether Red Mercury exists, but I'm pretty sure time travel doesn't! I've removed the claim that the defendants in the recent UK red mercury case were found not guilty on the 27th July.

If you actually read the version of the article that was current when you edited it rather than your cached version you'd have seen that I corrected my typo (27th July) to the correct date (25th July; today) within a couple of minutes of making the error, together with an edit summary apologising for the typo. Tonywalton | Talk 11:31, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Comment 3[edit]

Deleting a sentence to Talk.

I don't think it makes sense to say

   It was produced in the Soviet Union, then sold to countries and/or
   terrorists after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Given that there is no actual evidence such a substance exists, I doubt we can discuss its specific origins, when it crossed national borders, and to whom it was sold.

Some Intelligence experts believe that Red Mercury refers to tradable Black Market Plutonium —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:22, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Comment 4[edit]

Would irradiating mecury of any form magically turn it into some sort of super-explosive? That particular theory sounds like bad sci-fi to me, not chemistry. Just my 2 cents. Also, wouldn't one be able to calculate how much pressure this stuff would need to put out in order to create nuclear fusion? It seems highly implausible, but I'm not a chemist or a physicist... --Fastfission 06:27, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It could produce a high-spin, long half-life metastable nuclear isomer, suitable for induced gamma emission (see the relevant articles on induced gamma emission and nuclear isomers). Under the right conditions, this could be triggered to release large amounts of energy as gamma rays and start a fission or fusion reaction (by photon-induced fission, or by some secondary process); let us just say that I know someone working for the government on induced gamma emission. A casual search turns up the following list: of isotopes for mercury, any denoted with an m are excited metastable states capable of producing gamma rays, and due to short half-lives, would be hard to come by. Red mercury could contain a particular isotope or (this would be extremely valuable) pre-excited nuclear isomer with a longish half-life. Just my 2 cents, as someone who works with nuclear physics.

-- 19:45, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

RE: 1968, DuPont

Reference can be found in Chemical Abstract Service citation:

New ternary oxides of mercury with the pyrochlore structure. Sleight, A.W. (E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Wilmington, Del.) Inorg. Chem. 1968, 7(9), 1704-8 (Eng).

In general

Highly technical page by a chemist who has researched and attempted to recreate the compound in question or related compounds:

Tabor 00:24, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Oh my gosh if you cant find it on google it must not be true!

Another evidence[edit]

There was a film on Russian TV that was created specially to disclose the mystery of Red Mercury. Many people gave interview and showed the pieces of the substance. Nearly all physicists and military specialists said it was developed for anti-radar stealth-like technology. Only some UFOlogists did put forward other fantastic versions.--Nixer 05:53, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Vimana craft[edit]

This substance has a resemblance to "mercury" used to power/guide alleged spacecraft of ancient India,the mythological Vimana.

And I've heard...[edit]

...that red mercury is ordinary mercury into which other substances (precious metals, rare earths) were mixed so that they could easily be smuggled out of Russia as if they are mercury and later extracted and sold. Such a mercury wouldn't have red colour, it is called red because of association with Russia. I think I read about it in Govorukhin's "Great Criminal Revolution". Nikola 18:59, 4 November 2006 (UTC)


How is it transported —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:39, 5 April 2007 (UTC).

Another idea[edit]

As shown in all references, there is not a single solid indication that such a meterial really exists.

So I have found a nice explanation of where the term Red Mercury came from.

The chemical symbol of Mercury is Hg. Therefore, it would read as "Red Hg", which can be regarded as a shortcut to "Red Herring". As "Red Herring" stands for a general scam (I hope my English is good enough), this would fit with Russians/other countries trying to cheat on other people into believing of new "magic" material.

SWC —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:01, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

genius -- (talk) 17:26, 9 August 2010 (UTC)


The History Section opens with, "The story of red mercury apparently began when in 1991..." however in several other places (including the opening paragraph of the page) references are given which predate 1991, in some cases by more than a decade. Zupreme (talk) 03:26, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Star Trek[edit]

What about the use of "red matter" in the recent Star Trek film? Should that be added to this article? WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 14:27, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

In US state department memos[edit]

From the wikileaks leak, the cable on how to handle defectors published by the Guardian, mentions "If a walk-in possesses any object or item that appears suspicious or potentially hazardous, security personnel should deny access even if the walk-in presents the item as evidence of some intelligence he offers, e.g., red mercury presented as proof of plutonium enrichment." Worth a mention? - ۩ Mask 19:13, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Content moved here[edit]

MathFacts added the following text to the article some time ago. However, the material clearly conflicts with the referenced works... for instance, LLNL noted in 1992 that the topic had been known for 15 years, but this text claims it was only known for 1 at that point. In any event there's likely useful info in here, so I'm just moving it here so we can pick over it:

The story of red mercury apparently began when in 1991 the Urals Regional Economic Committee appealed to the government asking for a permit to export red mercury. President Oleg Sadykov of the Russian company Promekologia, situated in the Urals, wrote a letter to then-president of Russia Boris Yeltsin asking permission to sell red mercury abroad which, he claimed, could solve Russian economic troubles. In the early 1992 Boris Yeltsin signed a decree giving Promekologia a monopoly to sell 3 tonnes of red mercury a year for 3 years. In 1993 the affair became known to the Russian Supreme Council which led to investigation and speculations in the press.[1] In 1992 a special parliamentary commission was instituted to investigate the red mercury affair[2]

Former General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation Yuriy Skuratov said in an interview that in 1992 the Prosecutor's office had a story that the red mercury legend was invented to finance Russian privatization through RSFSR State Secretary Gennady Burbulis. He said "red mercury" was used to cover up exports of strategic materials from Russia.[2]

According to other sources a substance named "oxide of red mercury" was officially listed as a substance prohibited from export from the USSR other than to "socialist countries" as early as 1990.[1]

Maury Markowitz (talk)

Red Mercury[edit]

I believe I have a tenable explanation for what Red Mercury is and how to make it. I am interested in research on gravity engines and one of the hypothetical routes to making one is an ultra dense substance called a neutronium solid (or neutron condensate). It turns out that neutronium solids could have very similar properties to red mercury. In particular if a neutronium solid destabilizes it could release a very high energy neutron flux, probably enough to turn anything around it into a nuclear fuel - and if it was wrapped around something already fissionable like uranium 235 it could create a full nuclear cascade (ie a nuclear explosion).
Obviously this is all theoretical with about five levels of improbability- can one be made, can it be stabilized, can the neutrons be stabilized, can it be made to decohere quickly. I don't know if its a great standard of proof but a neutron solid kind of fits with some parts of the descriptions of Roswell and also the Nazi bell project (and foo fighters).
Obviously this is a bit of OR not fit for an article but it might just put someone onto the path of some real research, and if they published it .... Lucien86 (talk) 05:35, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Yet another fictional reference: "MI-5" episode "The Sleeper"[edit]

subject matter of "MI-5" (2002) Episode #3.2 on IMDB — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:27, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

'Spooks', as it is properly called !! Yes, and the sleeper was Ian McDiarmid, the Emperor. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:02, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Another fictional reference: "A Tall Tail" by Charles Stross[edit] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:49, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Pop culture section?[edit]

Given the references to the 2 TV shows above, this movie, and a red mercury device being central to the plot of the new Red 2, would adding an "In popular culture" section be permissible/welcome? I would argue that the Star Trek "red matter" doesn't belong here, if so, it's clearly something different.SLEPhoto (talk) 22:26, 20 July 2013 (UTC)


Here is a fresh story that even includes a photo:

The English language story quotes the Turkish Birgün newspaper. According to the source a container of red mercury "was found inside of a rocket warhead hidden in a vehicle stopped at a police checkpoint in the province Kayseri, Turkey on the 21 September." They even have a picture of it, containing the following text:


I very much doubt this product was made in Germany. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:39, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

This link shows a wider angle [2]. Also seen on various sites advertising "red liquid mercury" for sale. This link (Liquid Silver Mercury 99.999%/Red Mercury) contains a similar image, but the EXIF data reveals it to have been taken in 2004.--Auric talk 01:37, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

This is likely the original source: story of WMD found in iraq by the finder. Photos are towards the bottom and also show the other side of the container.--Auric talk 01:46, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Long-chain mercury compounds[edit]

The synthesis of Long-chain Mercury compounds has been attempted by western chemists with no success but ,while, mercury(II) pyroantimonate is unknown, but alkali metal salt (valency 1) of pyroantimonic acid ARE known. I am interested to know if any work to make poly mercury(II) pyroantimonate (i.e. long chains) has been done. Mercury doesn't produce a strong bond and many mercury salts are used in detonators (mercury fulminate for example), then a very long chain compound bridged by mercury WOULD have a detonation velocity far higher than multiple, small molecules. After all, if this compound were known, I doubt it would appear in any open literature. Producing no gasses, the decomposition would release it's energy as heat rather than work - the definition of a ballotechnic. It's possible to draw part of a chain in Chemoffice. As to the energy density, it would depend upon the specific decomposition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:23, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Is it really a hoax?[edit]

I found this here:

Red Precipitate.
Red Mercuric Oxide, known as Peroxide of Mercury, and Red Precipitate, has the formula HgO, and the molecular weight, 216.6. No pharmacopoeia gives a process for making it. On a large scale it is made by heating mercuric nitrate or mercuric nitrate and mercury, until the acid vapors are driven off. It is a yellowish-red powder, which on exposure to light becomes black. It is apt to explode when heated or struck and when mixed with phosphorus, carbon, or sulphur. Fats, sugar, gums, sulphurous and phosphorous acids reduce it. Red precipitate ointments made with lard become gray or lose their color altogether. When heated to a high temperature red oxide of mercury gives up all its oxygen. Oxygen was discovered by Priestly while heating red mercuric oxide.

This would explain the rumors of explosive properties of "Red Mercury." The same source also mentions a "Yellow Oxide of Mercury," having the same chemical formula, but more finely divided, and taking on a more yellowish hue.

I also find offered for sale as "Red Mercury" at various websites today, a Mercury Antimony Oxide, with the formula Hg2Sb2O7, that is supposedly bright red in appearance.

I am not a chemist. I have no idea what these compounds are used for. Perhaps at some stage in an initiator for a nuclear device they needed a conventional explosive with a certain nuclear properties, (neutron cross section, etc.) Perhaps they use mercury compounds for other chemical processes. There is even described here a process for mercury reduction and removal of plutonium and uranium from high-level waste.

In any case it seems quite false and presumptuous of the article to state that there is no such thing as "Red Mercury." Those news articles seem like a hoax to me. If ISIS is buying "Red Mercury", they probably know what its exact chemical composition is and what they are using it for. But that wouldn't fit their image as a JV team. (talk) 22:15, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

mercury(II) pyroantimonate[edit]

The title compound contains mercury that has a HUGE neutron cross-section. If the Wigner effect displaces the mercury, how much energy is produced? Windscale had to anneal the reactor (heat above working temperature) to put the carbon atoms back. If the energy of 1 mercury is sufficient to cause the next atom to replace the mercury - wouldn't this cause instant annealing of all the mercury (presuming a high neutron flux displaces enough mercury)? Pretty thin, but the 20:20 comes from the patent where different routes were tried and 20mmol samples were tested so 20:20 = 100% yield (I see 93% in 1 patent). Most likely rubbish.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:06, 10 December 2015 (UTC)