How to Refine Gold by the Acid Method (from Shor International Corporation

The two acids which are used in this process are concentrated hydrochloric and nitric acids. These acids are very corrosive. However, when combined with metals, the fumes become much more corrosive. So corrosive, in fact, that they will rust the highest grades of stainless steel with less than 1 second of exposure. For this reason, this kind of refining must be done outdoors, away from anything that may be damaged by exposure to these fumes. Having described it's hazards, it must be pointed out that, like most industrial processes, refining gold in acid is quite safe when performed under controlled conditions. In addition, the results of doing your own refining can be quite sweet. Based upon feedback we've gotten from several hundred shops, we estimate that, when you refine just 10 ounces of scrap gold yourself, you will save about $800. To refine gold in acid, you will need the following items: • heavy gage plastic buckets or Visionware pots • wood or plastic stir rod • protective clothing--minimum requirement: goggles and rubber gloves, rubber apron. • filtration equipment (optional but high recommended) • hydrochloric or muriatic acid • nitric acid or nitric acid substitute (subzero) • baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) • urea • gold detection liquid • selective gold precipitant • aqua ammonia • tap water and distilled water Melt your gold and make shot. Small open-up granules are best. If you are refining filigree or ladies rings, shotting is not necessary. Pour the shot into one or more Pyrex or plastic containers. For every ounce of scrap gold you are going to refine you will need a capacity of 300 milliliter. So, for example, if you are refining 10 ounces, you need a 3,000 milliliter (3 liter or 3 quart) container. To the container, add 30 milliliter of nitric acid (or 2 tablespoons subzero, nitric acid substitute) for every ounce of metal in the container. So, if you have 10 ounces of metal in the container, add 300 ml (milliliter) of nitric acid. Let it sit about 30 minutes or longer. You may or may not get a strong reaction with brown fumes. There is no way of predicting the strength or speed of acid reactions in refining. If using subzero, nitric acid substitute, add the hydrochloric or muriatic acid without waiting. The subzero will not have any effect until the hydrochloric or muriatic is added. To the container, add 120 ml of hydrochloric or muriatic acid for every ounce of metal in the container. So, if you have 10 ounces of metal in the container, add 1200 ml of hydrochloric. Again, you may or may not get a strong reaction. The solution will get hot as the acid reacts with the metal, dissolving it. If using subzero instead of nitric, you will probably get no fumes except those of the hydrochloric or muriatic acid. Usually, but not always, the acid reacts slowly at first. After some minutes have passed, however, the acid will become very hot and brown, very corrosive fume (nitric oxides and other fumes) will be generated. Wait a minimum of one hour after the fumes have disappeared before pouring off or filtering the acid. If you can, wait overnight. This will insure that the acid has had sufficient time to completely dissolve the gold. Pour the acid into another, larger container. Do not allow any particles to be poured off. If you have a filter funnel, preferably a Buchner filter funnel, use it. If any particles are poured off with the acid, they will contaminate your gold. The acid will be an emerald green color and should be clear (not murky or cloudy). If the acid is murky, it may contain particles and should be refiltered.

Remove it and touch that end to a paper towel to make a wet spot. If you have a filter. Add the water/precipitant solution slowly to the acid. follow the instructions that accompany the product. All will do the job well. killing the nitric acid but not the hydrochloric. The mud is pure gold. Immediately the acid will change to a muddy brown appearance as brown particles of gold form in the water. despite its appearance. Do not preheat the hot plate or thermal shock may cause the beaker to break. Do not put your face near the opening of the container. This brown "mud" is. your local supply house has one or two that they may favor. The premixed is commercially available as "precious metal detection liquid". . Do not add the water/urea so quickly that the acid foams out of its container. If you have a filter. However. Repeat this rinsing 3-4 times or more. at the same time. wash the mud into a small Pyrex beaker Visionware pot. To test. If you see this color change then give the precipitant more time to work and/or add more precipitant. Testing for the presence of dissolved gold is absolutely necessary to insure that no dissolved gold is thrown away with the waste acid. Testing is generally done with an aqueous mixture of stannous chloride. The smell is very strong and pungent. Stir and let the mud settle. White vapors will appear. stop adding the water/urea. Then test the acid for the presence of dissolved gold. Take a quart of water and heat it to boiling in a Pyrex or Visionware container. When all the acid is poured off. Put a drop of gold detection liquid on the wet spot on the paper towel. Despite the unpleasant name. this is just a harmless industrial chemical that has no smell and you will use to adjust the pH of the acid. it neutralizes any acid still clinging to the gold mud. use it. Remove it from the heat and add to the water one ounce of storm precipitant for every ounce of metal you are refining. The acid should now be a clear amber color with a brown mud at the bottom. Generally it's more convenient to buy this premixed rather than concoct it yourself. first immerse the end of the stirring rod in the acid. Do not pour off any particles of brown. you may need to use more than one quart of water. The aqua ammonia cleans impurities from the gold mud while. Do not pour off any of the mud. we prefer Storm precipitant. Using distilled water. At Shor. There are many different selective precipitants that can be used when refining gold.1 To 1. Pour off the acid into another container. Give the mud a last rinse. hydrochloric acid and pure tin. use it. If any gold is still dissolved in the acid. When using a selective precipitant. Give the precipitant about 30 minutes to do its job. add tap water to the mud. Slowly. When the acid stops reacting to the addition of water/urea.Take one quart of tap water and heat to boiling. The acid will foam with the addition of the water/urea. Pour off the water into the container with the acid. pure gold. Give the mud a chance to settle and then pour off the water. the wet spot will turn a purple-black or a purple-brown. Precious metal detection liquid will detect the presence of dissolved gold down to 4 parts of gold per million parts of acid )detecting the presence of about 1/1000th of 1 gram of dissolved gold. Rinse once with aqua ammonia. You've just raised the pH of the acid from 0. add the water/urea to the acid. this time with distilled water. Remove from heat and add one pound of urea to the water. Put the beaker on a hot plate to dry the mud. If you are refining many ounces of scrap gold.0.

5 % Pure with virtually no losses. in the room temperature aqua regia. use a Burno crucible. If you want to leave the iridium in the platinum. It will be left behind when you pour off the aqua regia. Iridium will precipitate as a blue-black mud after the platinum precipitates. palladium Palladium turns orange and iridium turn blue-black. Put this material in a fresh aqua regia bath.If you had platinum in your gold. The gold will again take on the appearance of metal. heat the acid to simmering. If using a torch. you will need to re-refine this material. When completely dissolved at 1 ounce of ammonium chloride for every ounce of dissolved platinum. to any appreciable degree. The platinum will precipitate as a red mud. To insure high purity of the platinum. prior to precipitation. Platinum turns red. If you've followed the instructions carefully and used filters. first wrap the powder in tissue paper and then soak that in alcohol.Melt the dried mud (now a powder). Continue heating until all the platinum is dissolved (that may take 1-2 hours). Platinum. This time. Also. . the gold will be 999. however. it will not dissolve. this will keep your gold from being blown away by the gas pressure from the torch. Platinum group metals will also show up on the stannous chloride test. then wait for it to precipitate before recovering the platinum.

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