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Zinc has been found being used in impure forms in ancient times as well as in alloys such as brass that have been found to be over years old. The isolation of metallic zinc in the West may have been achieved independently by several people in the 17th century.
In , cadmium was discovered in Germany as an impurity in zinc carbonate minerals calamine by Friedrich Stromeyer and Karl Samuel Leberecht Hermann. At the same time, the International Prototype Meter was used as standard for the length of a meter until ,  when at the General Conference on Weights and Measures the meter was defined in terms of the orange-red emission line in the electromagnetic spectrum of the krypton atom in vacuum. Mercury has been found in Egyptian tombs which have been dated back to BC,  where mercury was used in cosmetics.
It was also used by the ancient Chinese who believed it would improve and prolong health. They believed that different metals could be produced by varying the quality and quantity of sulfur contained within the mercury. The purest of these was gold, and mercury was called for in attempts at the transmutation of base or impure metals into gold, which was the goal of many alchemists.
Hg is the modern chemical symbol for mercury. The element was named after the Roman god Mercury , known for speed and mobility. It is associated with the planet Mercury ; the astrological symbol for the planet is also one of the alchemical symbols for the metal. Like in most other d-block groups, the abundance in Earth's crust of group 12 elements decreases with higher atomic number. Zinc is with 65 parts per million ppm the most abundant in the group while cadmium with 0.
Group 12 metals are chalcophiles , meaning the elements have low affinities for oxides and prefer to bond with sulfides. Chalcophiles formed as the crust solidified under the reducing conditions of the early Earth's atmosphere. Greenockite CdS , the only cadmium mineral of importance, is nearly always associated with sphalerite ZnS. This association is caused by the geochemical similarity between zinc and cadmium which makes geological separation unlikely.
As a consequence, cadmium is produced mainly as a byproduct from mining, smelting, and refining sulfidic ores of zinc, and, to a lesser degree, lead and copper. The richest mercury ores contain up to 2. It is found either as a native metal rare or in cinnabar HgS , corderoite , livingstonite and other minerals , with cinnabar being the most common ore.
While mercury and zinc minerals are found in large enough quantities to be mined, cadmium is too similar to zinc and therefore is always present in small quantities in zinc ores from where it is recovered. Identified world zinc resources total about 1. Because of the high toxicity of mercury, both the mining of cinnabar and refining for mercury are hazardous and historic causes of mercury poisoning. Zinc is the fourth most common metal in use, trailing only iron , aluminium , and copper with an annual production of about 10 million tonnes. Zinc metal is produced using extractive metallurgy.
Cadmium is a common impurity in zinc ores, and it is most isolated during the production of zinc. Some zinc ores concentrates from sulfidic zinc ores contain up to 1. Super-heavy elements such as copernicium are produced by bombarding lighter elements in particle accelerators that induces fusion reactions. Whereas most of the isotopes of copernicium can be synthesized directly this way, some heavier ones have only been observed as decay products of elements with higher atomic numbers. In total, approximately 75 atoms of copernicium have been prepared using various nuclear reactions.
Due to the physical similarities which they share, the group 12 elements can be found in many common situations.
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Zinc and cadmium are commonly used as anti-corrosion galvanization agents  as they will attract all local oxidation until they completely corrode. For example, cathodic protection of a buried pipeline can be achieved by connecting anodes made from zinc to the pipe. Cadmium has many common industrial uses as it is a key component in battery production, is present in cadmium pigments ,  coatings,  and is commonly used in electroplating. The European Union banned the use of cadmium in electronics in with several exceptions but reduced the allowed content of cadmium in electronics to 0.
Mercury is used primarily for the manufacture of industrial chemicals or for electrical and electronic applications. It is used in some thermometers, especially ones which are used to measure high temperatures. A still increasing amount is used as gaseous mercury in fluorescent lamps ,  while most of the other applications are slowly phased out due to health and safety regulations,  and is in some applications replaced with less toxic but considerably more expensive Galinstan alloy.
In the late 20th century the largest use of mercury   was in the mercury cell process also called the Castner-Kellner process in the production of chlorine and caustic soda. The group 12 elements have multiple effects on biological organisms as cadmium and mercury are toxic while zinc is required by most plants and animals in trace amounts. Zinc is an essential trace element , necessary for plants,  animals,  and microorganisms.
Mercury and cadmium are toxic and may cause environmental damage if they enter rivers or rain water. This may result in contaminated crops  as well as the bioaccumulation of mercury in a food chain leading to an increase in illnesses caused by mercury and cadmium poisoning. K Boiling Point:? K Specific mass:?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: Compounds of zinc , Organozinc compounds , Organocadmium compound , and Organomercury. Oxidation states in bold are common. Pure Appl. Retrieved 24 March Chemistry of the Elements 2nd ed. Inorganic Chemistry 3rd ed. Prentice Hall. Bibcode : Natur. December Journal of Chemical Education.
Formation and stability of astatide-mercury complexes
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The Chemistry of the Actinide and Transactinide Elements 3rd ed. Superheavy elements: a prediction of their chemical and physical properties. Recent Impact of Physics on Inorganic Chemistry. Structure and Bonding. Retrieved 4 October September The Chemistry of Aqua Ions. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. Bibcode : PCCP The chemistry of superheavy elements". Theoretica Chimica Acta.