Dissolving Gold in Mercury

Dissolving Gold in Mercury

Almost all elements can combine with mercury to form an alloy in a process known as amalgamation. For this video though, I’m going to be focusing on its interaction with gold, and to do this, I bought some gold leaf off Amazon. I cut out one of the pages, put it in a bowl, and then I start to add the Mercury. I was honestly surprised with what happened, And I thought the Mercury was just going to dissolve the gold where it landed and make a hole in the leaf I think if I just put one large drop, it would have pulled the entire leaf in, but because I used multiple drops, they kind of started battling and eventually ended up in a stalemate I tried to speed things up by adding several more drops which initially seemed to work, but it quickly slowed down again I think if I let it sit here for something like an hour or so, all of the gold would eventually be pulled in But I was a little bit impatient, so I kind of just pushed everything together There was still a decent amount of gold left, but I rolled it around for about 30 seconds and most of it disappeared. On a quick side note, this is why when you’re working with mercury you really need to be careful with your gold jewelry Anyway, I decided to add a page of gold leaf to this blob, and this time it was much faster, and in my opinion, a lot cooler. One thing I should mention, though, is that this effect is a little bit exaggerated, because the gold leaf has a super high surface area. A solid gold chunk will still amalgamate, but it won’t be nearly as spectacular, and it actually is kind of boring to look at Anyway, I was so amused with it, I did it 23 more times, with every other gold leaf that I had. As more is added, there’s less and less free mercury to amalgamate the gold, so the rate slows down. The first foil that I added disappeared in less than 10 seconds, but this is the 16th one, and it takes about 30. Also, because the Mercury-gold amalgam is a solid, the blob will thicken as more gold is added I’m going to be covering this in a future video, but this is kind of how dental amalgams are made. Instead of using gold, Dentists use silver and some other metals like tin and copper to make this pasty metal material which can be used to fill teeth Anyway, after adding all the gold, I was left with this really dense blob It’s solid enough that I can squish it together like clay, and try to mold something I’m not really sure how to describe how it felt, but it had a bunch of excess unamalgamated mercury in it, so it was kind of a mix between a solid and a liquid When I squished it, it shot out a bunch of mercury To get rid of the rest of the liquid mercury, I cut out a square from one of my socks The mercury-gold amalgam is a solid, so it stays in the sock, but with a little bit of effort the excess liquid mercury can be squished through The mercury-gold amalgam that I have now is much more solid. However, unlike the silver amalgam that’s used in dentistry, as far as I know, the gold amalgam doesn’t have much use on its own. What’s more important is the actual process of the gold amalgamation, which is used to refine and purify gold. On a large industrial scale, most developed nations have turned to more environmentally friendly and safe methods, but on the small scale, this is still really useful. The basic idea is to crush up gold-rich ore into as fine powder as possible, and then to mix it with mercury. The mercury will leech out the gold, and either just become highly concentrated, or it will form some solid amalgam chunks The gold is then isolated, either by boiling off the mercury, or by chemical treatment. In this shot here, I’m adding the gold amalgam to a little bit of concentrated nitric acid. The nitric acid reacts with the mercury, and dissolves it into solution, but it doesn’t touch the gold. The reaction is a little bit slow, so I occasionally blasted it with a heat gun and mixed it around. This process isn’t exactly environmentally friendly or safe, and it lets off a lot of nitrogen dioxide gas. Eventually it’s done reacting, and I have a whole bunch of powdered gold at the bottom. The nitric acid, which has mercury salts in it, is poured off and the gold is washed a few times with distilled water. I put the entire vial in a toaster to dry out the gold and then I transferred it to a smaller one The total mass here is 0.25 grams and I put in 25 pages of gold leaf So it means that each one is about point zero one grams This is quite a small amount, and it’s only worth about Eleven us dollars I decided to keep the gold of the powder, but it is possible to melt it down into a small button as a Powder it’s very finely dispersed and not shiny but once we melt it down it will become shiny again Anyway, I think that’s about it For those of you who follow me you’ll know that this video is a lot shorter than my regular one And I think I’m going to continue posting more like this This isn’t going to be a replacement or anything for my longer ones, and I’ll still be putting out about four of those per month


  1. Muy Buenos días, Saludos desde Lima Perú, la ciencia y sus avances, sin preguntar no hay ciencia… ¿hagamos el proceso inverso? perdón por hagamos. Dios Padre y Madre los Bendigan

  2. I’m actually in dental school to be an assistant and I’m curious about the process to make the amalgam for teeth. We use a machine that mixes the powder and liquid in a capsule. Again I’m curious if you could actually make it

  3. the quality of your videos and how you speak made me think you had millions of subs but only almost 600K? you deserve more recognition! great videos always enjoy

  4. Here in Bolivia miners use this to extract gold from panning operations on river banks. One miner told me that there is a way you can recover much of the mercury by baking the gold amalgam in a potato. Apparently the starch absorbs the mercury. I didn't really understand how it was supposed to work though. Thanks for making these awesome videos!

  5. I read the first emperor of China was killed by mercury poisoning, they were giving him small amounts of mercury in hopes it would extend his life.

  6. that's how we collect flower gold and then we retort the Mercury to gain a crystalline nugget.Then reuse the Mercury

  7. 4:59 – "I put the entire vial in a toaster to dry out the gold."
    Of course. You're not a real scientist unless you use a toaster to dry your metal.

  8. I saw this video posted on Facebook by Viral Trend and got fed an ad about twenty seconds in. So I decided to come find your video here so I could drop you the like you deserve and enjoy the video with that sweet, ad free YouTube Red goodness. Awesome video!

  9. people in india are calling it healing with the mix of salt, lemon juice, mercury and gold leaf amalgonized mixing with a pestle and mortar 3. ‘Killing’ mercury, i.e. reducing it to a ‘󰁦󰁩ne ash’ or ‘oxide’ (


    ). The reason for doing this (though not mentioned in this text) is that ash of mercury, unlike liquid mercury, is thought to be absorbable by the human body. Mercury ash is produced by mixing mercury with various-ub-stanceses (for example, with soot, sulphur, ammonium chloride, and some acidic liquid) and heating them in a sealed container (a glass bottle, or a crucible made from mud or plant materials).󰀲􀀴The recipes for mercury medicines that follow are diverse in production meth-ods, ways in which they are applied and diseases they are meant to treat. A common denominator of all recipes is the occurrence of sulphur as one of the ingredients. Mercury is ingested mixed with honey or ghee, as a beverage, or in the form of pills. It is also applied as an eye ointment, smeared into the nose, rubbed into a small incision in the skin, or used topically on areas of the skin a􀁦fected by skin disease.󰀲􀀵

  10. Found your video on instagram

  11. love it! I watched this video on ayruvidec (spelling unclear) and the holy man talked about doing the same thing with mercury and gold. Interesting…


  13. Mercury was used for gold mining for much of the 19th century. It's not done that way anymore, I believe cyanide is used now. Pick your poison! I have an old book that shows you how make a retort from a potato. It does warn "don't eat the potato"!

  14. My dad was a dentist in Mexico, when I was like 8, I found some mercury on my dads things and I start playing with it, it was very fun until it all attached to my gold ring and made it withe, I got really scared so I tried to rinse it up and it became powder upon my eyes, I was really scared because I knew I was going to be in trouble, I keep this secret for years until today that I decided to search on YouTube the mystery of the mercury and my gold ring, I’m 34, so I had no internet or video gas to play back then 😂😂😂😂

  15. yes this is how they get the gold out of electronics in third world nations they soak all the parts in mercury then boil off mercury to get the gold, which is extremely toxic to the environment because they just do it at a campfire outside

  16. I remember watching a special about illegal gold mining in Latin America. It should a small operation where two people manually dredged a river, took the dried silt added water and mercury and put it in a 55 gallon barrel. A person got inside and stomped and treaded the mixture for sometime. They then retrieved the mercury blob and hit it with a blow torch to boil off the mercury. Needless to say the older people who were doing this had a bunch of neurological issues.

  17. Did anyone else hear in their head the Cookie monster sound byte of him going to town on cookies as the mercury ate the gold?

  18. Interesting, but i wish the author would have stressed the mortal danger of breathing in any of the fumes rising from the mercury/nitric acid reaction. One may as well inject both ingredients directly into the blood.
    Consequences can amalgamate to making "cool" videos.

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