MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Can mercury be used as another medium for soniluminescence?

Date: Thu Aug 25 05:02:23 2005
Posted By: Ed Stammel, Faculty, Computer, SUNY Delhi
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1115843941.Ph

Question: Can mercury be used as another medium for soniluminescence?
From: James
Grade: 10-12
City: Plymouth, State/Prov.: Devon Country: Great Britain
Area: Physics Message ID Number: 1115843941.Ph

As a conductor of heat mercury could be infinetely more useful to the 
development of a fusion energy source than acetone which is currently, so 
can a micron size gas bubble be suspended in mercury?


To produce the effect subject a clear liquid with small bubbles to high 
intensity, high frequency sound.  The collapsing bubbles can emit a small 
burst of light.  It appears as if we have created a system which converts 
sound energy into light.  The efficiency of the system is terrible but the 
possibility of creating light a new way is promising.

Mercury is a liquid with a reasonably high vapor pressure so theoretically 
bubbles could be created in a sample.  Mercury vapor is good at converting 
electrical to light energy in a fluorescent tube so it seems like a good 
candidate. The problems with mercury are numerous:

Mercury is incredibly dense.  The buoyancy of any mercury vapor bubbles 
would be tremendous making it difficult to create stable bubbles in 

Mercury is opaque.  If flashes of light were created in mercury we would 
not be able to see them.

Mercury conducts heat easily.  If SL requires heat it would be hard to 
create or maintain high temperatures at one point in the sample.

Mercury is toxic and expensive.  Experiments with mercury would be tricky.

So mercury is probably not a good candidate for experiment to make you the 
next Edison.  But donít give up.  The theory is there and there may be 
some combinations of shape, liquids, pressures, temperatures, and 
frequency which could create a new light bulb that uses less energy and 
does not pollute.

To learn more about the field try:

Keep on thinking,

E Stammel (

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