I was curious about the hardening mechanism of a dental amalgams. Why does it harden? Is it just an alloy phase transition to the solid phase?
This is a stretch as I have only limited knowledge of metal solublility in mercury. A particular Gold ore purification process amalgamates merucry w/ Gold where the solution is then boiled to drive off mercury and precipitate gold.
Is something similar happening in the filled tooth? That is, a fresh filling outgases merucry - driving down solution concentration of mercury - to eventually cause the alloy to solidify from a paste.