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Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

Pics | 30 Aug, 2010 | Views: 42322 |  +25   |  


It seems like too much work for so little gold. Even when gold prices hit record high. But it's still very interesting. Let's see how to extract gold from old motherboards.

1 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

Gold is found in numerous places on a motherboard: IDE connectors, PCI Express slot, PCI, AGP, ISA, and other ports, jumper pins, the processor socket, and DIMM (SIMM on older motherboards) slots.

All of these connectors are often covered with a fine layer of gold a few microns thick, deposited by flashing or plating.


2 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

So, the first stage of the experiment is to recover all these pins and connectors. We need pliers and cutters, flat and Philips screwdrivers, and liberal amounts of elbow grease...


3 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

You need a lot of pins to conduct this experiment, and that's exactly what our donor boards provided...


4 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

...along with some equipment and chemicals.


5 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

To recover the few micrograms of gold deposited on the pins, we’re going to use an electrolytic cell. The bath consists of a 95% solution of sulfuric acid. The cathode is lead and the anode is copper. The pins are placed in the copper anode, which we’ve formed into a basket shape.




6 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

By running an electrical current through the cell, using an ordinary battery charger, the copper in the anode (and in the pins) dissolves and is deposited on the lead cathode. The gold, detached from the copper, forms a sediment at the bottom of the cell. Also note that the temperature of the bath increases significantly during this process.


7 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

Once all of the gold has detached from the pins, the bath is allowed to settle. Then, we recover as much of the sulfuric acid as possible, before diluting what remains in the bottom of the electrolytic cell.


8 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

Be careful to always pour acid into water, and not the other way around! If you do it wrong, the first drops of water that touch the surface of the sulfuric acid will immediately be vaporized and could cause acid splashes.


9 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

We end up with a diluted solution of sulfuric acid, various metals (including gold), and waste that then needs to be filtered. Why not just filter the solution directly, without diluting it? Because paper filters don't stand up well to strongly concentrated sulfuric acid. That's why.


10 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

What remains in the filter is a mixture of various metals and impurities. We now dissolve everything in a mixture of hydrochloric acid at 35% and chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) at 5%, in a proportion of 2 to 1.



2 HCl + NaClO -> Cl2 + NaCl + H2O


11 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

Careful! The reaction is highly exothermic and produces chlorine, a highly dangerous gas. Chlorine gas was used as a chemical weapon during the first World War, under the name bertholite.


12 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

In fact, the chlorine produced by mixing hydrochloric acid and chlorine bleach is what will dissolve the gold to form gold(III) chloride.

2 Au + 3 Cl2 -> 2 AuCl3


13 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

Now, all we need to do is filter everything once again. The filter will retain all the impurities, leaving only a gold(III) chloride solution.


14 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

To recover the metallic gold, we now need to precipitate the gold that’s in solution. For that, we use powdered sodium metabisulfite. In the presence of water, the sodium metabisulfite produces sodium bisulfite.

Na2S2O5 + H2O --> 2 NaHSO3

This sodium bisulfite is what will allow the gold to precipitate.

3 NaHSO3 + 2 AuCl3 + 3 H2O --> 3 NaHSO4 + 6 HCl + 2 Au


15 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

We let the solution settle, then we recover the brown powder collected at the bottom of the beaker. We have to be careful not to lose any--that’s metallic gold!


16 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

Now, all we need to do is to melt the powder in a crucible.

The melting point of gold is around 1064° C (1947.52 °F), so an oxy-butane torch will do the job.


17 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)

And here's the result!


18 Process of Gold Extraction from Motherboards (18 pics)


Source


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№1 Author: warprisoner (30 Aug 2010 00:57) Total user comments: 258


Activity rewards:
+1
I think it's actually not so bad for one motherboard.
There's probably millions of them waiting to be crushed in pieces
№2 Author: fairmania (30 Aug 2010 01:17) Total user comments: 1361


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+4
I think that may have been the pins from all of those motherboards......

Probably cost more in chemicals than the gold you recover. It must make a nice diversion for a rainy weekend though.
№3 Author: VelveTongue (30 Aug 2010 02:00) Total user comments: 1052


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*sweat* 07
№4 Author: elunicotomas (30 Aug 2010 02:20) Total user comments: 1680


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millionaire!
№5 Author: Dallizzt (30 Aug 2010 02:36) Total user comments: 1451


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You would think that some of this would be automated to some degree or another maybe? 51
№6 Author: raymond.wendt (30 Aug 2010 02:55) Total user comments: 9110


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I think I'd rather look for loose change on the street than risk melting my face off with those chemicals! 17
№7 Author: fluorescentG (30 Aug 2010 02:59) Total user comments: 3958


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bingo
№8 Author: Nsibai (30 Aug 2010 03:12) Total user comments: 5694


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04
№9 Author: Poontang_Punisher (30 Aug 2010 04:03) Total user comments: 1257


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fuck that lol is it a lot of work
№10 Author: Louie (30 Aug 2010 05:05) Total user comments: 7861


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№11 Author: gaboku (30 Aug 2010 06:21) Total user comments: 17


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№12 Author: salsapopo (30 Aug 2010 11:00) Total user comments: 12713


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13
№13 Author: yavzas (30 Aug 2010 11:08) Total user comments: 167


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woww...
№14 Author: aks3167 (30 Aug 2010 12:23) Total user comments: 1674


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wow very informative, had heard about this ,good to see it here .. 04
№15 Author: mahedi (30 Aug 2010 14:58) Total user comments: 10644


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21 21 21
№16 Author: joffenbaker (30 Aug 2010 15:14) Total user comments: 4915


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The plating of gold (or silver) on those electronic boards are not ony alloy but the industry standard is 3 atoms thick. You'd need a SHITLOAD of boards and your extractin process would out weigh your yeild... blee dat! 12
№17 Author: 2fuzzy (30 Aug 2010 15:17) Total user comments: 10400


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Got to love chemistry.
№18 Author: Lu (30 Aug 2010 18:43) Total user comments: 13379


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Interesting, ja.
№19 Author: doelbodho (30 Aug 2010 21:30) Total user comments: 332


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04 12 63
№20 Author: apari (30 Aug 2010 22:29) Total user comments: 827


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"Worth your weight in gold" doesn't apply here
№21 Author: bruce88lee (30 Aug 2010 23:19) Total user comments: 1818


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wow that's worthless
№22 Author: adzhoe (1 Sep 2010 04:43) Total user comments: 13427


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Big money for poor asian countries!
№23 Author: nico (1 Sep 2010 15:03) Total user comments: 3050


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13
№24 Author: DavidGreen (1 Aug 2013 19:28) Total user comments: 1


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Where did this come from? Where can i find more information about this ?
№25 Author: Keereecep (25 Oct 2013 04:48) Total user comments: 1


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#file_links[C:\Users\Adm
inistrator\Desktop\caa
hco\HTC Desire Z - admirable, alluring and appealing.-spun7.txt,9999,L]
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