Amalgams are liquid when the quicksilver is in great excess; solid, but readily fusible, when the alloyed metal predominates.

They have a metallic luster, and a metallic structure which renders them brittle. They even form crystallized metallic combinations of constant proportions, dissolved in an excess of quicksilver, when the excess is separated by compression in a chamois skin, or by filtration in a glass funnel of slender stem, terminating with an orifice almost capillary.

According as the fusing heat of a metal is less or greater than its combination heat with quicksilver, the amalgamation of this metal produces an elevation or a lowering of temperature. Thus potas-

sium, sodium, and cadmium, in alloy | with quicksilver, disengage heat; while zinc, antimony, tin, bismuth, lead, and silver combine with mercury with absorption of heat. The amalgamation of 162 parts of quicksilver with 21 parts of lead, 12 parts of tin or of antimony, and 28.5 parts of bismuth, lowers the temperature of the mixture 79° F.

Amalgams formed with disengagement of heat are electro-negative with reference to the metals alloyed with the quicksilver. The products with absorption of heat are electro-negative with reference to the metals combined with the quicksilver; consequently, in a battery of elements of pure cadmium and amalgamated cadmium, the cadmium will be the negative pole; in case of zinc and amalgamated zinc, the zinc will be the positive pole.

Heat decomposes all amalgams, vaporizing the mercury and leaving the metal alloys as a residue.

Water is decomposed by the amalgams of potassium and sodium, because the heat of formation of these amalgams, although considerable, is even less than the heat disengaged by potassium and sodium, on decomposing water. The alkaline amalgams may, therefore, serve as a source of nascent hydrogen in presence of water, giving rise to an action less energetic, and often more advantageous, than that of the alkaline metals alone. Thus is caused the frequent employment of sodium amalgam for hydrogenizing a large number of bodies. As a consequence of their action on water, the alkaline amalgams are changed by moist air, with production of free alkali or alkaline carbonate.