Flushing 240lbs of Mercury

Flushing 240lbs of Mercury

Alright everyone, welcome back to Cody’s Lab. So, today I’ve got a bit of an odd experiment for you. You see, if you’ve ever tried to flush a lead bullet down a toilet, you’ll find that lead is so dense and heavy that you need a really good toilet to actually produce enough water current to move the metal. And this got me thinking, what would happen if I tried to flush an even denser metal, such as mercury? Mercury, however, is a bit liquidy — so I’m not really sure how it’ll react. Let’s put some in a toilet and find out. Now, if I tried to flush mercury down a toilet that was connected to a septic system, the EPA would probably be on me like flies on warm manure. So I actually went and bought a toilet, special for this purpose, and I’ve designed a little mount for it that’s nice and strong, And… I made it so that it would be very well-contained. You see, the water, and presumably mercury, would go down to this bucket, and if it escaped that, I’ve got it inside of a large plastic tub here. [toilet flush] Let’s put in a… Little bit ‘a mercury, say ’bout a… cap full or so. Actually, you know what, let’s just put in a little dob here. And see what it does. Okay, so it broke apart into beads, but it should recoalesce a little bit. Here we go. Let’s see what happens when we flush it now. In three, two, one. [toilet flush] Okay. So… It appears like the mercury actually went down. Let’s see if it’s in my bucket here. Okay, let’s pull our bucket out. And there’s the mercury. You can see that in there. That looks like all of it. So, It turns out that a toilet can flush a small amount of mercury. Let’s see what happens if we increase the quantity a little bit. So this time, let’s try… Quite a bit more mercury. Let’s see, what does that look like… that’s probably over an ounce there. Let’s put that in the bowl. Here we go. And now, let’s flush it again. [toilet flush] And it would appear that, once again, the mercury has all flushed through. I guess it’s time to ramp up and actually put the whole bottle in. This is roughly two pounds of mercury here. Oh yeah. Now let’s see what happens. [toilet flush] And look at that. For the first time, it didn’t actually flush all the mercury. Okay. So it appears that if you put, like, multiple pounds of mercury in a toilet, it won’t flush it through. But if I actually look over here at the… Yeah, in the pot… You can see that some mercury did get flushed through. I’m wondering if I kept flushing it, if the mercury would eventually all go through. [multiple toilet flushes] Okay, so after flushing it a few more times, It doesn’t appear like any more mercury’s coming out now. So I’m guessing what happens is if the mercury’s a nice solid piece, like it is here, then the water just kinda pushes it back, and then it sloshes forward. The water needs, like, small bits of mercury, that it can like, get underneath of and cause to flush out. That’s an interesting result. So I guess the question now becomes, could I actually clog a toilet with mercury? I have here, a whole flask of mercury. Let’s see what happens when I tip it in. [liquidy splashes] [metallic splashes] [toilet flushes metalically] There it is, I plugged the toilet with mercury. As you can see, some of the mercury is actually coming through. A little at a time there. So the weight of the water seems to have pushed the mercury out, but none of the water’s actually making it through. So it appears that the mercury has stopped dripping out, let’s see how much is in here. That’s probably 10, 15 pounds of mercury that made it through. Alright. Now I’ve got these plungers here, let’s see if I could actually use a plunger to push the mercury through. [blub] [metallic blubs] Eh… it appears to sort of work. Let’s actually try this other plunger and see if it does any better. [blubs] Oh man. That’s heavy. [blubs] Alright, so… It appears that I can get most of the mercury to go through by using the plunger. But I cannot get it all to go through. So there’s all the mercury. I’ve recovered it, and I’ve removed most of the water from it. You can see there’s still a little bit of water in there from the droplets floating on top of it almost like oil floats on top of water. It makes sense because mercury’s 13 times heavier than water. And it doesn’t mix with it. And, I’ve saved all of the water that I was using over here. So now I’d love to flush this toilet using, y’know, mercury instead of water, but… Unfortunately, it’s gonna require more than one flask of mercury. Which means I’m gonna have to go to the shed and lug down another one. (exhausted) Why did I do this so far from the shed? So there’s another flask of mercury. And these things are heavy. There’s 76 pounds of mercury inside of it. But the steel flask also weighs another 10, 15 pounds. So this is like 90 pounds here. So there’s two flasks of mercury. Now I could probably lift it up to the toilet here. I am strong enough, but, y’know… I wouldn’t want it to spill from this height, it’d probably splash all over the place. So here we go. Just gonna pour this in a cup at a time. Until I’ve filled it up to the water mark. So there’s actually a bit of a problem that’s developed. You see, when I put the mercury in, it lifts this up, and the mercury just goes straight to the toilet. See, like this. So, I actually thought this might happen, so I brought along a chunk of tungsten here that I’m going to use to weigh this down. See, tungsten’s actually heavier than mercury, so hopefully… the weight of the tungsten will hold that down long enough for the mercury to hold it down on its own. The tungsten bar seems to have done the trick. Well, you can see, some of the mercury went down into the bowl, which I guess is good ’cause water does that normally. But, unfortunately, that means I didn’t have quite enough mercury to bring it all the way to the water line. Looks like I’m gonna have to haul yet another flask of mercury down. So here’s the last of flask number three going in. Fortunately, it looks like I built the toilet strong enough to hold the weight. I’m actually gonna drop this piece of gold down into the mercury. You see, just like the lead bullet, gold is very dense and hard to move with water. In fact, it’s twice as dense as lead is. In fact, if I put the lead bullet on top of the mercury, you can see that it floats, whereas the gold sank right through. Okay, we’re ready. Oh, it’s heavy. In fact… I can’t get it to go up. I’m gonna have to pull with the string I think. I feel like I’m gonna break somethin’. [grunt] Hahaha… it’s not going. The weight of the mercury’s holdin’ it closed now. I have to think of somethin’. Let’s see, do I have any cuts on my hand? I think I’m good. Let’s just reach in there and do it. [toilet flushing] There it goes. (repeated, second camera angle) [toilet flushing] There it goes. [toilet flushing] [toilet flushing] [toilet flushing in slow motion] Whew, that was violent. See how much this thing shook around? Oh my gosh. But it flushed through! Ha ha ha. Alright, let’s rinse my hand off in the bucket here. Let’s go turn off those cameras. So it looks like I actually did break that chain. You see here? I must’ve pulled on it so hard that it opened the links. And that just kinda floated apart. Shows you how much pressure the mercury was pushing down on this with. I mean, the tungsten bar here only weights two pounds, that wouldn’t have done it. Let’s pull this out and see what we got in here. I see a lead bullet floating. If I can catch it… here we go. It’s coated in mercury. Let’s set that up there. Let’s see if I can find that gold bar. See if it even pushed it through. Ah, there it is. Right there. Here’s the gold bar. So here’s my gold bar. It appears that I have turned it into a silver bar. But, that’s an easy fix. All I gotta do is put it into a flask of nitric acid. Just like that. This video is not being sped up. That’s happening in real time. It’s just that very thin coating of mercury gets eaten away with the nitric acid very quickly. There we go. There’s our gold bar back. You can see it’s not quite as shiny, because the mercury did dissolve some of the gold. In fact, I’ll tell you what… Let’s go put this on the scale and see how much less it weighs. You can actually see the crystal structure of the gold. I’d say that actually looks even prettier than what it did before. Alright, well let’s see how much I contaminated my mercury. Let’s tare this, then put that on. 30.453 grams. So since it started off at 31 grams, It’d say I lost over half a gram from it. I’ll get it back next time I distill the mercury. Welp, I guess it’s time for me to take this apart and clean up. But I think I’ll spare you guys that and end the video now. Tune in next week when I go to the hospital and get a blood test to see how much mercury I have in my system. But until then, I’ll see you next time.


  1. It may not be a toilet you use in the house but im still disgusted at you dipping your hand at toilet water lmaoo

  2. Mercury is toxic and could could kill you people have died just getting some on them by accident how did you not die?

  3. Safety First my friend you have no gloves on no mask I thought toxic material such as mercury excetera excetera you should be wearing safety equipment maybe I'm wrong but I pretty sure you should be wearing this stuff

  4. And also how do you acquire so much of this I don't think it's something you can buy at the hardware store order again I could be wrong

  5. Thumbnail…..every time I take a shit. Buddy of mine found a foot long standing up in a body shop urinal one time💩😲😆

  6. Also, the reason the small drops flush and not the big ones is the high interfacial tension of mercury combined with its high density.

  7. “Direct contact with elemental (liquid) mercury can cause irritation and chemical burns. Possible immediate effects may include dizziness, vertigo, flu-like symptoms, burning or irritation, pale or clammy skin, irritability, and emotional instability.

    In addition, exposure to mercury affects the central nervous system, damaging the brain, liver, kidneys, and blood. The element affects reproductive organs and can damage a fetus. Several other symptoms are possible, depending on the route and duration of exposure.

    Some effects of mercury contact can be immediate, but the effects of mercury exposure also may be delayed.”
    From ThoughtCo

  8. I was always told mercurt is dangerous and not to touch it with bare hands, like in a thermometer. Is this correct?

  9. Don't try this!
    Mercury is highly toxic and can kill you..
    And i'm not even started about our beautiful mother earth yet..
    In Europe it's an ilegal thing to own. (We are way ahead of you)

  10. Am I the only one who gets sketched by his comfort around/touching Hg? In grade school, kids dropped a thermometer in the bathroom and we got locked down in the library for about 4 hours after school xD

  11. Idk why but I'm thinking of Silver Surfer being in this scenario where he can't flush out his mercury successfully.

  12. I am so glad that I now know exactly how much mercury I can flush into a public sewer at a time, without clogging my toilet. Thank you

  13. Your cheating, you need to fill the bowl up as the toilet fill valve fills the tank AND the bowl at the same time some, the bowl will reach max level and the extra water will flow through the trap and down the drain. RE-DO

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