Watch what it's like to attempt standing on liquid mercury

Originally published at:


Careful with that axe, Eugene




This shows that at the end of Terminator 2, the T-800 would float on the liquid metal, not sink into it.


Rumor has it that the First Emperor of China So Qin Shi Huangdi might be swimming in rivers of mercury. His tomb has never been opened and high concentrations of mercury are present at the sight.

“In the 1980s Chinese researchers found that the soil in the burial mound above the tomb contains mercury concentrations way above those elsewhere in the vicinity.” -ChemistyWorld

‘Mercury was used to fashion the hundred rivers, the Yellow river and the Yangtze river, and the seas in such a way that they flowed’ -Sima Qian (Han dynasty historian 2nd century BC)

Only these guys know for sure:



Yes, this stuff is really fun to play with:


I think Cody and most of us understand the risks, which can be mitigated with some precautions.

1 Like

Someone who understands the risks shouldn’t mess around with stuff like this.
Or be at least prepared to pay for the cleanup.


Metallic mercury, while not harmless, is relatively safe to deal with, especially at low temperatures. The real nastiness lies with the various organomercury compounds, which range from mean to “will kill you if you spill a couple of drops on your gloved hand” (


I think that depends on the density of the T-800 which could well be higher than that liquid metal which was probably not mercury anyway.

1 Like

It was probably molten steel, but still. And they had to replicate human form and couldn’t be TOO much heavier than humans. Otherwise you could sniff them out by having them stand on a scale. Of course they call it some sci-fi “hyper alloy”.

1 Like

Barefoot? Talk to me about precautions.


Once you strip (or burn) the skin off, there’s clearly a lot of empty space within the T-800 frame:


In general, solid metal is going to be denser than molten metal, because it’s cooler, and thus has expanded less for the same type of metal.
Whether the T800 would sink depends on what it’s made of, and what kind of molten metal it’s being dunked in. For example, if it’s skeleton was made of titanium (density 4.50g/cm³), it would probably float on/in a vat of molten iron (6.98g/cm³), but sink into molten aluminium (2.38g/cm³).
In order to give you a more accurate answer I’m going to need a steel foundry, plenty of different metals, and a Terminator…


You know in the actual video, he didn’t use his bare feet. Maybe that is a 'shop, deleted scene, or from a different time.

Still, short exposure to skin with out any cuts etc isn’t going to harm you.

IIRC he has played with Mercury before and dispelled some myths and even took blood tests to show his Mercury levels were not elevated.

At any rate, it is like most dangerous things, like radiation. Proper caution is needed, but it isn’t as deadly as some make it out to be. Just like the anti-vacc nutters claiming the dangers in of the mercury compound used in vaccines.


Yea, I played with it as a kid, back when it was good, clean fun. But not 600 pounds of it.

1 Like

This is the correct answer.

Given the futuristic supermaterials the Terminators were made of, I’d posit their skeletons would even be semi-hollow; allowing convenient space for sensitive circuitry and protection of wiring - so invariably there would be some air in there. This could drastically decrease their average density. I’ll digress to say they were still heavy af. In T3, 3 firefighters couldn’t budge Arnie.

1 Like

Yup. I worked out once that the amount of mercury in a vaccine is A. Not the same as the toxic mercury B. About as much as a serving of fish. (Depending on the fish)

1 Like

So your family was poor too?

And the type of mercury was also able to be metabolized by the body much, much faster.


I too have handled mercury with my bare hands. Not a big deal, though I am concerned that Cody ran his gloved hand through his hair at about 4:38. Not because the mercury; but rather, it’s important to get into the habit of never touching yourself with gloves, for all those other times when you’re handling really nasty stuff!