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### Topic: extracting precious metals and how to make mercury harmless  (Read 16306 times)

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#### magician4

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##### Re: how to make mercury harmless
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2013, 07:12:47 AM »
so you won't be working with elementary mercury at all, but with one of it's alloys?

how exactly will you try to "extract" the silver from the alloy?

regards

Ingo
There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

#### Fe$phi • Regular Member • Posts: 27 • Mole Snacks: +0/-4 ##### Re: how to make mercury harmless « Reply #16 on: October 26, 2013, 09:25:28 AM » i thought it would be elemental because right now i have amalgam tablets (3) which are silver and mercury mixed so i will be mixing that with HCl and producing AgCl and HgCl (and maybe HgNO3???) i will then dry this and get just those two salts then ill add water and the Hg ones will dissolve, ill filter this through a filter paper(thats good right?) and then ill dry both individually so ill have separated the mercury and silver salts #### Arkcon • Retired Staff • Sr. Member • Posts: 7367 • Mole Snacks: +533/-147 ##### Re: how to make mercury harmless « Reply #17 on: October 26, 2013, 11:51:16 AM » I plan to extract Ag from amalgam and will be producing HgCl and HgNO3 in side reactions and so like are gloves enough? if so what kind of gloves if not what else do i need for my personal protection i dont plan to spill any of this and if i do i will be working in a lab so i can set up a drip pan and other precautions. So compounds of mercury, some of which are very soluble in water? No. Gloves aren't enough. At least not how you describe it --"so like are gloves enough?" You'll need the proper gloves, rated specifically for these particular chemicals by the manufacturer. A prominent mercury chemist poisoned herself using gloves that she thought were OK, but in fact, weren't resistant enough to organomercury compounds. We have casually mentioned the need for other engineering controls -- like externally ventilated hoods. Simply put, your proposed procedure, is a cute thought experiment, but isn't appropriate for a "Citizen Chemist" manipulation. Hey, I'm not judging. I just like to shoot straight. I'm a man of science. #### magician4 • Chemist • Full Member • Posts: 567 • Mole Snacks: +70/-11 ##### Re: how to make mercury harmless « Reply #18 on: October 26, 2013, 12:46:56 PM » i thought it would be elemental because right now i have amalgam tablets (3) which are silver and mercury mixed so i will be mixing that with HCl and producing AgCl and HgCl (and maybe HgNO3???) i will then dry this and get just those two salts then ill add water and the Hg ones will dissolve, ill filter this through a filter paper(thats good right?) and then ill dry both individually so ill have separated the mercury and silver salts asides from what the colleagues already mentioned: you won' t get nitrates if you don't use nitric acid additionally. however, using conc. nitric acid / hydrochloric acid as a mix ( which, if memory serves, is required to "break" the Hg-Ag-and then some - alloy , else, with pure HCl, next to nothing will happen) you will have nitroxides as side products, which are voilatile from the solution, and deadly poisenous. definitively not something you wish to do without proper precautions ! this might quickly become suicidal! and, having noted your other thread: Ag goes at US-$ 22,62 / oz.tr. these days

calculate like 25% by weight, typical, of silver in this dental alloy
calculate your costs , incl. further mercury salt modification / disposal

is this really worth your time?

regards

Ingo
There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

#### billnotgatez

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##### Re: how to make mercury harmless
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2013, 03:46:50 PM »
Quote
if i do i will be working in a lab so i can set up a drip pan and other precautions.

@Fe$phi are you doing this in a home lab or are you taking it to a regular lab with hood etc. #### Fe$phi

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##### Re: how to make mercury harmless
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2013, 06:23:24 PM »
@billnotgates i plan to use a fume hood and at my school lab
@Arkcon i apologize i put it in here because though i am a student this is what i do in my free time i have chemistry equipment and what i don't have(like a fumehood) i can use at my school
@magician4 okay that makes sense one person mentioned using aqua regia but then someone else said i only needed HCl and yes it is worth it because if i can make the mercury harmless then i can get paid to take the dental waste and also get the silver from the dental waste

#### billnotgatez

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##### Re: extracting precious metals and how to make mercury harmless
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2013, 08:50:46 PM »
These 2 threads are combined since the process of making precious metals selected creates mercury which needs to be dealt with

@Fe$phi We at Chemical Forums only want to make sure you stay safe. As a citizen scientist we are not always knowledgeable about all the different things that can go wrong when doing an experiment. You seem to be taking the correct steps by doing your project at a school that has facilities. I wish you good fortune and hope this works for you but STAY SAFE That being said you might enlist not only the help here but also staff and teachers at the school to make sure all is safe. Regards bill « Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 09:05:48 PM by billnotgatez » #### billnotgatez • Global Moderator • Sr. Member • Posts: 4359 • Mole Snacks: +222/-61 • Gender: ##### Re: extracting precious metals and how to make mercury harmless « Reply #22 on: October 26, 2013, 09:25:41 PM » Thinking about this, once someone has a lump of gold or silver what do you do with it. Go to the your favorite jeweler and sell it to them? And, can we also sell the mercury to some entity? #### Fe$phi

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##### Re: extracting precious metals and how to make mercury harmless
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2013, 03:35:06 AM »
the silver or gold yes theres a place by my house and i will compare it with online prices and see which is better and for the mercury i dont know about selling it but i know if i can make it harmless that process actually is what the dentists normally pay for so it can be disposed of correctly

#### Archer

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##### Re: extracting precious metals and how to make mercury harmless
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2013, 03:47:18 AM »
Mercury disposal is extremely expensive, also although this sounds obvious Mercury is Mercury all you can do is change it's oxidation state.

You may find the cost of disposing of aqueous (or solid) mercury waste far exceeds the profit from selling the silver and what the dentists are paying you.

I would look into the logistics and cost of waste disposal by an authorised company before you start or you may be out of pocket by a considerable sum.

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#### Borek

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##### Re: extracting precious metals and how to make mercury harmless
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2013, 03:47:29 AM »
i know if i can make it harmless that process actually is what the dentists normally pay for so it can be disposed of correctly

That's a bit naïve. You know almost nothing about chemistry, yet you assume with a random advice from some chemistry forum visitors you can design a process that will be economically competitive on the existing market? Don't you think people with much more knowledge already did their best to refine their procedures to make them as cheap as possible? Have you checked what are the local regulations? Or is your plan to get arrested for running an illegal lab dealing with heavy metal waste and pay a hefty fine? (That won't make you more competitive price wise, you know).
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#### Arkcon

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##### Re: how to make mercury harmless
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2013, 07:08:23 AM »
@Arkcon i apologize i put it in here because though i am a student this is what i do in my free time i have chemistry equipment and what i don't have(like a fumehood) i can use at my school

Awesome.  By all means, consolidate your plans into a proposal, and submit it to your school.  I guarantee you they will never allow you to:

-- do things you barely understand
-- make money for yourself with their facility
-- generate liters of toxic waste in their facility, that they are responsible for

You don't have a fume hood, and you're not going to just "get" one.  So when we tell you to use a fume hood, and you say, "got it", and people in this thread give you more dangerous procedures, I'm going to assume you're just going to say "yeah, yeah", then do them outside, with dish washing gloves, and a handkerchief tied over your nose.
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

#### vmelkon

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##### Re: extracting precious metals and how to make mercury harmless
« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2013, 07:49:35 PM »
There is a lot of talk about disposal but what does that mean? I don't get it. Isn't mercury a wanted element? There are billions of fluorescent tubes being made. A lot of amateur chemist want to have some.

Personally, I payed a lot of money to buy 250 g of mercury. I don't consider it an element to be disposed of.

#### Fe$phi • Regular Member • Posts: 27 • Mole Snacks: +0/-4 ##### Re: extracting precious metals and how to make mercury harmless « Reply #28 on: October 28, 2013, 07:06:04 AM » @ Arkcon: the school has a fumehood is why i said got it @ Borek: im not doing something illegal i would be performing the procedures in a lab at my school with teachers very with very small amounts and if all went well and i could do it then i would look into regulations other places than my school i could perform it and things like that but your all thinking well if you cant make money then dont try it im thinking well cant do it than dont try and make money this was suggested to me by someone answering my question on how could i start using chemistry to make money aside from working for a company @ vmelkon: pure mercury right? not a compound? so after u see if i can do this then maybe ill look into extracting mercury rather than disposing of it, whichever is cheaper #### magician4 • Chemist • Full Member • Posts: 567 • Mole Snacks: +70/-11 ##### Re: extracting precious metals and how to make mercury harmless « Reply #29 on: October 28, 2013, 08:02:02 AM » There is a lot of talk about disposal but what does that mean? I don't get it. Isn't mercury a wanted element? define "wanted" to the best of my knowledge, trade in mercury is very very low, and this metal isn't even a commodity in stock exchange, just OTC business, if you know what I mean. however, there are inofficial "observations" of those trades, and by that , we know that world market prices for this are in the ballpark of 100 US-$ / kg

the only "huge" legal demands I am aware of is light bulbs industries and gold mining, and both are in need for extremely clean Hg, for obvious reasons.

with your scrap, to become a supplier to those companies offering clean Hg to the market ( and hence are certified, trustworthy ... you name it), that's where your problems come from - if you had it.
...and I doubt that Fe\$phi will gain anything even remotely like it

regards

Ingo

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.