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View Full Version : Gold Chloride - DIY. A bit of hard won advice



kb3lms
08-19-2012, 06:49 PM
In a word - DON'T!

As we all know, gold chloride is sort of expensive. Having access to piles of scrap gold plated electronics connectors, I looked for a possible way to extract some gold and make some gold chloride. Well, if you google this subject you will find that it is indeed possible and at one stage in the process you even end up with gold chloride - exactly what you want! And I have enough outdoor space to do this well away from other people and enclosed spaces. So, what the hell, right? Well, when things sound too good to be true, they usually are.

The process involves reverse electroplating off the gold plating, filtering and gathering the residue from this process and then dissolving the gold out of the residue in chlorine to gather the gold. If you want actual gold you can go one step further and precipitate out elemental gold, which you will eventually find that you will need to do because of nickel and copper impurities. Now you won't come up with troy ounces this way, but you ought to be able to generate enough for a respectable batch of AuCl3.

Chlorine should be your tip-off here. If you don't know why, go look up Chlorine on Wikipedia. If you still don't know, make some, and you or your next of kin will soon figure it out.

Well, I can tell you all that this does indeed work and I have here a bottle of liquid that for all accounts looks to be gold chloride. Unfortunately, the process is a path of chemistry generating poisonous fumes, hazardous chemicals, a ton of time and is a complete and utter mess. Gold prospectors of the 19th century EARNED their money. I'm not squeamish about chemicals - treat them with the proper respect and you should be OK. Making silver nitrate wouldn't bother me - or at least I don't think it would since I haven't tried. But stay away from this one.

So long story short, buy the gold chloride. You won't save any time and you won't save much, if any, money. If you are just hellbent to harvest gold scrap to get yourself gold chloride, then go right ahead! Harvest the scrap, clean it up and sell the stuff to someone who refines scrap metals for real. Use the money you got to buy the gold chloride and the time you saved to take some pictures, make your emulsions or whatever it was you really wanted to do in the first place.

smieglitz
08-19-2012, 10:46 PM
[B]Making silver nitrate wouldn't bother me - or at least I don't think it would since I haven't tried.

I'd strongly suggest avoiding that too: silver nitrate manufacturing (http://lerch.no-ip.com/atm/DEAD.htm) (X_X)

eclarke
08-20-2012, 06:02 AM
Yep. Nitrate, translated to Slobovian, means death wish...

kb3lms
08-20-2012, 10:38 AM
Well, I am certainly not advising that anyone should try to make either AuCl3 or AgNO3. Quickly looking at the costs of the materials needed for making AgNO3, unless you had the silver and Nitric Acid on hand, there wouldn't be any savings. Even so, making AgNO3 appears to be a "dissolve the silver and let the result evaporate process" and you have your material. This AuCl3 refining process is a whole magnitute of disaster above that.

Buy the stuff. Mix up developers or emulsions if you want to play chemist. Metals refining is a mess.

ME Super
08-20-2012, 11:05 AM
Be careful when working with Nitric Acid that you do not spill any on your skin. It reacts with an amino acid in your skin to form a yellow dye that's much the same color as a yellow highlighter. My college chemistry professor called this "dinitroskin." Your skin may get hard where this happens, but fortunately it only gets the top layer of your skin. Nitric acid will burn you if you don't rinse it off right away (but the yellow compound will have already formed by this time).

Steve Roberts
08-23-2012, 03:17 AM
Be careful when working with Nitric Acid that you do not spill any on your skin. It reacts with an amino acid in your skin to form a yellow dye that's much the same color as a yellow highlighter. My college chemistry professor called this "dinitroskin." Your skin may get hard where this happens, but fortunately it only gets the top layer of your skin. Nitric acid will burn you if you don't rinse it off right away (but the yellow compound will have already formed by this time).

From Wikipaedia: TNT [of which nitric acid is a constituent] is poisonous, and skin contact can cause skin irritation, causing the skin to turn a bright yellow-orange color. During the First World War, munition workers who handled the chemical found that their skin turned bright yellow, which resulted in their acquiring the nickname "canary girls" or simply "canaries."

A useless piece of information I learned during a visit to the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey last week! It promotes itself as 'Secret Island' to attract the kids, but if you get past that (or not!) there's a fascinating amount of history there. Well worth a visit.

http://www.royalgunpowdermills.com/history-and-heritage/

Steve

Ian Grant
08-23-2012, 04:54 AM
I produced large quanties of Silver Nitrate and Gold Chloride when I worked in precious metal recovery and you need the right equipment and most importantly fume extraction. It's not difficult just hazardous.

With access to a prperly equipped lab I'd make my own again but it's not something you can do at home.

Ian

E. von Hoegh
08-23-2012, 12:25 PM
From Wikipaedia: TNT [of which nitric acid is a constituent] is poisonous, and skin contact can cause skin irritation, causing the skin to turn a bright yellow-orange color. During the First World War, munition workers who handled the chemical found that their skin turned bright yellow, which resulted in their acquiring the nickname "canary girls" or simply "canaries."

A useless piece of information I learned during a visit to the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey last week! It promotes itself as 'Secret Island' to attract the kids, but if you get past that (or not!) there's a fascinating amount of history there. Well worth a visit.

http://www.royalgunpowdermills.com/history-and-heritage/

Steve

Are you sure you don't mean picric acid? It was used in British munitions under the name Lyddite; another use of picric acid was dyeing silk yellow.

TNT is a nitrate of toluene, and while nitric acid is used in the process, it cannot properly be called a constituent.

wildbillbugman
08-26-2012, 03:30 PM
There is a worthwhile difference between the cost of commercial AgNO3 and making your own. I have been makiong my own for several months now, and getting a "whiter" product than any I have purchased already made. I save about 30% on the cost. One needs to shop for the best price for silver(not sterling). Also the cost of the nitric acid is all over the place.
My results, as far as silver emulsions is concerned, are totaly comperable to purchased silver nitrate.
Bill

Photo Engineer
08-26-2012, 04:52 PM
To clarify, Nitric Acid is not an ingredient of TNT but rather a precursor which is used with Toluene to generate TNT.

As for the OP, why didn't you just ask one of the chemists here before you started? You might have saved a LOT of time and well, sanity! :D

PE