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HgI2 is a scarlet red, tasteless, odorless and insoluble powder that forms red-orange crystals. It exhibits thermochromism; when heated above 126 degC (400 K) it transforms from the red alpha to a pale yellow beta form. Upon cooling it reacquires its original color. It is used as a demonstration of thermochromism and for preparation of Nessler’s reagent for detection of ammonia. It also is used in some X-ray and gamma-ray detectors operating at room temperature. It was formerly used in medicine as a treatment for syphilis. It is found in nature as the rare mineral coccinite. In veterinary medicine it is used as blister ointments in exostoses and bursal enlargement. It is a mild reducing agent and reacts with sodium azide to form mercury(II) azide. It is shock, heat and friction sensitive. It is soluble in alcohol, chloroform, ethyl acetate and olive oil. It is poisonous if swallowed and skin sensitive.