Making Clerici’s Solution; The Heaviest Water Based Liquid?

Alright everyone, welcome back to Cody’s Lab So a lot of you seemed to enjoy my video on Ceasium tungstate, the salt that when dissolved in water makes a liquid that is dense enough that it can float rock And so I think I will do a few more videos on the subject Today I will be making the densest water based liquid that I know of, and that is Clerici’s Solution This is actually two salts dissolved in water and both of them are thallium based Thallium of course is well known for its use as rat poison because its salts are tasteless, odorless, and incredibly soluble in water which makes it very useful for making dense liquids, but also incredibly toxic but I should be alright so long as I don’t try to eat it and also keep it off my skin whenever possible. So without further ado lets crack this jar open. and see how it looks. This a sample of thallium that I bought for my element collection a few years ago. As you can see it’s inside of a tin can and packed with vermiculite because thallium is that toxic. It’s not really something you want to get out into the environment The lethal dose of thallium is about the lethal dose of mercury. But thallium I would say is more toxic than mercury because this stuff is a known carcinogen, whereas mercury is not. So anyway, let’s get one of these chunks out of there and make a super heavy liquid. Get all that mineral oil off of it so I know exactly how much I have. I’ve worked out that I need one and a half grams of formic acid and 3.4 grams of malonic acid. So, let’s weigh them out. I’m going to call that good. So there’s our acids. Now all I’m going to do is mix them together with a little bit of water and use this to dissolve my piece of thallium. That could take a while and I think I’m going to do it in an area with a little better ventilation. Fun Fact: one of the antidotes to thallium poisoning is actually Prussian Blue, a cyanide compound. I found that rather amusing. It didn’t seem to react until I got the solution very hot and at those temperatures the formic acid would want to leave so I put a cover on it to help reflux the acid back. But, there we go, it’s finally reacting. Now, I guess I’ll just let it sit here for a few hours. I might eventually cut this ingot in half, just to make it go a little faster. There you go. So here we are two days and some change since my last cut. You can see I put some fiberglass in here to maintain some heat. I think most of it is dissolved now. So let’s have a look. Pull that up. Set that over there. So yeah there’s still some pieces left. I eventually took my knife and actually cut the thallium into little chunks and that made it dissolve quite a bit faster. And as you can see I’d say around 80% of it was dissolved. So, I think I’m going to call that good enough. I’m going to take this out of there. Let’s just pour it off into this larger beaker to evaporate. After evaporating down, this is what I’m left with. A material that looks a lot like melted sugar. Which is slowly crystallizing from the sides if you can see there. So now, I’m going to add a little bit of water back. Pretty much drop wise, just get it to the point that it’s mobile again. That couple of drops and let it dissolve. There we go I believe I got it mobilized. And that’s definitely a liquid. It’s amazing when you think about how that piece of thallium metal is actually right here in the solution. Anyway, let’s take a diamond and put it into the solution. Remember diamond sank in the cesium tungstate. Let’s see what it does in this thallium solution. There you go Diamond floats! Now that is cool… Almost lost it there. Excellent, let’s see what else it’ll float. Diamond has a density of about three and a half grams per cubic centimeter And this piece of corundum has a density of about four. Okay, just give that a little shake Make sure it’s floating And it is! Look at that That is corundum floating on liquid Next let’s try a piece of barite or barium sulfate I believe this has a density of 4.5 Let’s see if it’ll float Oh, it sinks Okay, I guess I expected that because this solution should have a density of about four and a quarter grams per cubic centimeter. So four and a half Obviously sinked. But there you go By now you guys will probably guess this solution is very useful for measuring the density of different minerals to figure out exactly what you have. For instance you could put your sample into the solution add water until it is neutrally buoyant and then from there calculate the density to figure out what mineral you’ve got. Today though I’m just going to do a sink-or-swim analysis To see whether I have diamond or cubic zirconia. Let’s put in the diamond. And of course you guys know that floats And now the rock that I suspect to be zirconium dioxide Did it sink? And it sank. There you go. Cubic zirconia has a density of around six grams per cubic centimeter So it sank in the solution that is 4.25 And the diamond of course being 3.5, floated. So there you go, that is cubic zirconia. So there you have it, possibly the heaviest aqueous solution in the world I think you could go a little bit heavier if you maybe added a couple more ions Took advantage of the multiple ion effect a little bit better Or used heavy water instead of normal water But I can’t imagine going more than a couple of percent heavier than this This is possibly… This is approaching the limit to what you can achieve with aqueous solutions. I think in the next video on the subject I’m actually going to go for a little bit lighter solution And one that’s not nearly so toxic. So hope you’ll stay tuned for that, hope you enjoyed this video, and I’ll see you next time. Subtitles by Cody’slab fans!!!

Bernard Jenkins


  1. no element is truly toxic. it is the dosage which makes it toxic.

  2. Many people say that Thallium salts are highly soluble but what I see is that most salts of Thallium are less soluble than similar salts of other elements. Thallium chloride TlCl, bromide TlBr and iodide TlI are poorly soluble, Thallium perchlorate TlClO₄ is the fourth least soluble metal perchlorate, Thallium nitrate TlNO₃ is the fourth least soluble metal nitrate, Thallium sulfate isn't really that soluble. The only highly soluble Thallium salts are Thallium formate TlHCO₂ having solubility of 5000 g/L, Thallium acetate TlC₂H₃O₂, Thallium fluoride TlF having solubility of 786 g/L, Thallium hydroxide TlOH having solubility of 350 g/L and Thallium pyrophosphate Tl₄P₂O₇ having solubility of 400 g/L. Thallium carbonate Tl₂CO₃ having solubility of 52 g/L and Thallium phosphate having solubility of 1.5 g/L are more soluble than those of other metals but the Alkali Metal carbonates and phosphates are much much more soluble.

  3. It sounds really weird to have Prussian blue referred to as a cyanide compound — technically that is true, but cyanide ions only appear as stable ligands. It sounds as weird as saying that there is a cyanide compound used in commercial table salt (potassium ferrocyanide, as anti-caking agent).
    (Of course I presume Cody knows this, I am just pointing out how weird it sounds)

  4. Could you use it to separate copper vs. zinc pennies, or would they react with the coins?

  5. hey could you make a video about how to make bleach like raw bleach

  6. That has to be the worst butchering of an Italian name I've ever heard.

  7. we use Prussian blue as a marking compound to see how gears mesh in a differential. Not sure if it is the same thing, but it is made by the permatex corp.

  8. Is there a proof that this is the heaviest solution possible? Does it have to do with molecular bonding?

  9. "Without further ado" has to be the most used phrase in YouTube videos. LOL

  10. If cody’s Wearing gloves, you better put on a Level A hazmat suit. If he’s wearing a hazmat suit, prepare for:


    (RPAIFZD for short)

  11. Expect rat poison is primarily a anticoagulate that kills the rat…

  12. Formic acid in a bottle!?
    That sounds like the most viscious biological weapon known to man.

  13. (gets thallium poisoning) I don't make mistakes…
    (takes prussian blue) I have happy little accidents.

  14. That’s my team on league of legends. Dense enough to float diamond.
    So toxic you need to wear gloves.

  15. If you make somwhing dense enough to float osmium, i will give you 100$

  16. Says it is a known carcinogen yet mercury deteriorates the brain and makes the body stop functioning

  17. Next video: can californium be used to create miniaturized nuklear devices? TESTED

  18. Wish I had a science teacher like you when I was in school! Think a lot more kids would be more excited about science class with you standing up there wearing your chainmail and black gloves!

  19. "Tasteless, oderless, and incredibly soluble in water"
    "iocane is oderless, tasteless, disolves instantly in liquid, and is among the more deadly poisons known to man."

  20. Diamonds aren’t that dense, just hard because of crystalline structure

  21. I dont get why density and viscosity of liquids dont go Hand in Hand.. guess i shouldve paid more attention to Physics in school

  22. The cure to thallium a highly poisonous material is cyanide now once you get cyanide poisoning what's next…

  23. Cody can you do a video on responsible ways to dispose of chemicals

  24. Is everyone just gonna ignore the fact that he just has a literal diamond just sitting around

  25. Wouldn't it be interesting to see what you can do with this liquid in a large volume to suspend an object in.

  26. Wow it must dense because diamond is hardest metal and it's so heavy that 1 gram of diamond weighs something like 15 grams

  27. Me: hey what's the WiFi password
    Friend: it's the numbers on the back of the router
    The password: 1:48

  28. Non drinkable, damn, was going to drink it to try and pass the bullshit weight requirements at MEPs

  29. Lmao you said it looks like melted sugar while I'm eating a piece of sugar glass I made

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