Mercury CAN be a solid.
More Info: Though mercury is the only common metal found in a liquid state at room temperatures, it can freeze and become a solid at a temperature of -38.72 degrees Celsius.
States of Matter
Most are familiar with a few fundamental facts of chemistry – for instance, the three (loosely speaking, since plasma is sometimes considered a fourth) states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. Those of us who have ever had fevers are possibly also aware of this little thing called mercury, which fills the middle of the – probably somewhat antiquated – thermometer. Still others will be aware of the fact that mercury is also, interestingly, a metal. But wait! It is exceptionally rare to come across liquid metal in any place that doesn’t contain extremely hot temperatures. So maybe mercury is something different. Of course, those of a more inquisitive and investigative bent might ask a very interesting question: even though it is usually come across as a liquid, can mercury ever be a solid?
Chemical Answers and Solutions
As you may recall from high school chemistry examples and the above paragraph, substances can exist in three – again, discounting the sometimes exceptions – states: solid, liquid and gas. Which of these three states the substance exists in will depend upon the temperature and pressure being exerted on the substance. Most metals, at room temperature, are exceptionally solid – that is to say, their melting point happens at temperatures well in excess of room temperature – and only become liquids at extremely high temperatures. However, mercury is an exception to this generalization. The freezing point of mercury is −38.83 °C – that is, the point at which it becomes a solid is the aforementioned temperature.
Mercury Properties.” Environmental Chemistry. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2013. http://environmentalchemistry.com/yogi/periodic/Hg.html
“Environment Canada – Pollution and Waste – Mercury in the Environment – About Mercury – Chemical Properties.” Environment Canada – Environment Canada. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Jan. 2013. http://www.ec.gc.ca/mercure-mercury/default.asp?lang=En&n=10C3AF2D-1
“Mercury properties.” Uniwersytet Warmińsko-Mazurski w Olsztynie. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Jan. 2013. http://www.uwm.edu.pl/kchem/mercury/mercury.html