How To Refine Gold
Gold being a good conductor of electricity is often used in intricate parts of computers and other electronic equipment. More so as it is non corrosive as well and as such is a preferred material.
You will find gold scraps in numerous things around you. The older electronics will have more gold in them than the newer ones as with the advancement of technology this precious material is sparingly used now.
If you are planning to do it your self you will need a few things which will include some tools, safety equipment and chemicals. Needless to say you will have to be very careful too when handling these chemicals while in the process of refining.
Get together scrap from electronics components such as from old 386 or 486 computers, old analog cell phones, stereo cables etc. Cut off all the gold plated components you see from this scrap. You will find the connector pins, processors and or chips plated on with gold. Cut the gold plated components off the circuit boards. Preserve the other parts without discarding them as they may contain silver which can be reclaimed as well later.
Remember to prepare your self to work with chemicals. You will need safety equipment and clothing. Be cautious as chemicals can burn and the fumes can be toxic. Wear a rubber apron, thick rubber gloves, a respiratory mask and a face shield.
Of the two types of chemical processes one will remove the gold plating while the other will refine it to pure 24k gold. This is a process of reverse electroplating.
An electrolyte solution is then made that acts as a chemical bath for the gold you are about to process, as well as a conductor of electricity. You will carefully pour a mixture of 70 percent sodium cyanide (NaCN), 15 percent sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and 15 percent sodium Meta nitro benzene sulphonate into a glass laboratory beaker and stir them with a glass wand.
Next have your power source ready to be connected. Clean and attach a small alligator clip on one end of each of two wires. Connect the other end of each wire to the negative and positive posts of a 9 or 12 volt battery which are on top. To prepare the anode, select the wire connected to the positive post and clip the alligator clip to the prepared scrap and drop the scrap into the beaker containing the electrolyte solution. This will have to be done in small lots for as long as the battery will hold enough power.
To prepare the cathode clip the other alligator clip attached to the wire from the negative terminal to a piece of stainless steel cylindrical rod. Then lower it into the beaker with the solution and your electric circuit will not be active at this stage. Wait for the battery to start charging the scrap with a positive charge and the negative charge from the stainless steel. The electrolyte solution will start to dissolve the gold from the scrap. The positive charged gold will attract the negatively charged stainless steel and adhere to it which can be later peeled off and left aside until you have done the lot and have enough gold to refine.
This may be 12K or 18K gold and another process is required to refine it to 24K gold. This is a process where extreme caution has to be exercised and the chemicals can cause severe burns. Into a second beaker pour Aqua Regina till it is half full. Drop the gold into this solution and fill the beaker with sodium meta bisulphite. You will find the gold settling in the bottom of the beaker. This is now pure 24k gold. Drain off the solution into a glass storage container which you can reuse later. Allow the gold to dry off and wash it thoroughly with water.
Parts of discarded electrical items such as motherboard, switchboard, nuts and bolts, cable tips, etc., can earn you money. Next time when you throw them, think that there is value in them. Keep them separately and send them to scrap gold refiner earning money.
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