Cleaning gold; how do you do i?

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Cleaning gold; how do you do i?

Post  Peta on Sat May 12, 2018 4:32 pm


I'm getting itchy feet. Embarassed

I haven't even found any gold yet here I am getting ready to clean it. Very Happy

I have been led to believe that gold is cleaned by immersing it in hydrochloric acid.

Is this correct?

Is this a safe method or are there better and safer methods to use?

I have read that Arsenic and also Mercury were once used, but I know even less about these.

I am under the impression that once I find a small piece of gold I should follow the following protocol:

1/ manually pick off any loose dirt from the nugget.

2/ wash off any other loose dirt using water and a soft brush.

3/ soak the nugget in pure hydrochloric acid until it is clean.

4/ rinse well in fresh water.


Am I correct


5/ If I am, how long on average do I soak the nugget in hydrochloric acid?

6/ Can I over-soak gold in hydrochloric acid or does the acid not damage gold regardless of the soak time?

7/ Can the same technique be used for cleaning gold that is encrusted into rock. Does the acid 'eat' away the rock leaving the gold unharmed?

8/ On average, how long are nuggets left to soak in hydrochloric acid? (apologies, I realise this is a broad question, so a broad answer will do).

Thank you,

Peter.

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Re: Cleaning gold; how do you do i?

Post  Dig24crt on Sat May 12, 2018 6:09 pm

Peter
Alibrite from Supercheap Auto is a great method. Eats rock but doesnt effect gold
Cheers Dig
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Re: Cleaning gold; how do you do i?

Post  piston broke on Sat May 12, 2018 6:53 pm

As Dig said, Alibrite is great for cleaning Gold nuggets. Hydrochloric acid is used to dissolve any ironstone. Don't even think about Mercury and arsenic, they have nothing to do with cleaning gold nuggets. cheers Pete.
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Post  Dig24crt on Sat May 12, 2018 7:06 pm

Peter
This site has a wealth of information. You will find the search box top right invaluable .
Cheers Dig
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Re: Cleaning gold; how do you do i?

Post  Travelergold on Sun May 13, 2018 12:18 pm

As dig said above, but can't stress enough to read labels on acids or alibrite. Alibrite has 10% hydrophilic (spelling may mot be correct) acid in it so be careful. Do not get it on your skin and definatly do not breath/ take in any fumes.
On this forum the search bar will lead you to a wealth of info.

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Re: Cleaning gold; how do you do i?

Post  davsgold on Sun May 13, 2018 2:48 pm

Travelergold wrote:Alibrite has 10% hydrophilic (spelling may mot be correct)

Hydrofluoric acid (HF) very dangerous stuff
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Re: Cleaning gold; how do you do i?

Post  Peta on Sun May 13, 2018 3:41 pm


Am I correct in understanding that If I use hydrochloric acid it is only to separate gold from iron-stone?
On average, how long do I immerse the nugget for?
Do I do anything else while I am waiting (stirring, refresh acid etc)?
Can I damage the gold by immersing it for too long?

Am I correct in understanding that If I use Alibrite it is to separate gold from everything else bar iron-stone?
On average, how long do I immerse the nugget for?
Do I do anything else while I am waiting (stirring, refresh acid etc)?
Can I damage the gold by immersing it for too long?

Thank you,

Peter.

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Re: Cleaning gold; how do you do i?

Post  Axtyr on Sun May 13, 2018 5:25 pm

G'day Peta.

I use hydrochloric acid only (available from Bunnings), but many others use a substance called Albrite.

I use the acid to clean off any ironstone. I have many of the old plastic film canisters so I use these for the nuggets so I use only the minimum amount of acid.

1: Clean off as much clay and dirt as possible. Break up the ironstone if the gold is inside the rock to minimise the soak time. The acid will not eat away quartz.

2: Put the nugget or specimen inside the container and just cover it with acid.

3: Put the lid back on and put it in a safe place out of the way of children.

4: I usually put the gold in acid after arriving home so I let it soak overnight. The next morning I put water in the container to dilute the acid and then pour it out in a safe place. Now wash the nugget in clean water again.

5: Using a sharp pointed instrument such as a wood screw I scrape away the corroded rock as much as possible. If there is still rock in the gold I repeat the process.


It doesn't matter how long you leave the gold in the acid but it will lose it's corrosive ability once the rock starts dissolving and contaminating the acid. I usually leave the nuggets in for about 12 hours at a time until the rock is removed but sometimes I get a little impatient. The dissolved rock comes away very easily and when it gets hard again then you need to repeat the process.

It is IMPORTANT to remember to dilute the acid with water before starting to scrape the rock away, otherwise you might get acid burns. The acid is very corrosive so keep the bottle away from your tools. I have my acid bottle inside another bottle to prevent this from happening.

Although I have heard of others using hydrofluoric acid, most people will not recommend you use this as it is extremely dangerous, much worse than hydrochloric if it comes in contact with your skin.
Hydrochloric acid will do the job. It may take a little longer but it has much less risk.

Regards Axtyr.

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