Precious Metal Refining & Recovery, Episode 11: Silver From Bang Snaps

Precious Metal Refining & Recovery, Episode 11: Silver From Bang Snaps

Hi everyone, welcome back to Cody’s Lab So, I wanted to do a video on fireworks but unfortunately things are incredibly flammable right now So I thought I’d start with something that is a little less likely to start a forest fire So these little things, known as “bang snaps”, “snappers” or “poppers”, contain a little bit of high explosive Now, the explosive is supposedly silver fulminate, if so, these stains should actually be primarily silver So, let’s put a little bit of nitric acid on here, and see if that’s true Ok… It looks like we came lighter in color, that means the silver was dissolved That confirms that it is silver Now, they’re only supposed to contain about 80 micrograms of silver fulminate each So I’m gonna need quite a few of them to be able to recover a significant amount of silver I went to the store and bought 100 boxes of these poppers, and after quite a bit of separating, I now have over 5000 of them sitting in these bowls Something I always wanted to try to do is punch a whole bunch of these poppers, so How about I shove my fist in about 5000 of ’em? This might be rather stupid, but, let’s see what happens *disappointing little noise* Not very much, it’s not like they chain together or anything *slowed-down little disappointing noise* Hahaha, and that contains all the silver, very nice Look at this on my knuckles, you can actually see where the silver’s on my hand, and it’s shiny and metallic That’s cool! *little bangs* Backyard Scientist determined that these little things are incapable of igniting even flammable liquids such as gasoline Let’s see what happens when I hit ’em with my high-power laser *pop* Now, they really don’t even burn that well, do they?
I guess that’s good to know But I might have to actually put ’em in my furnace in order to actually get them to thoroughly combust *little bangs* Here’s the gravel that was in the poppers, along with some ashes because I burned up all the paper So let’s add in a little bit of distilled water And a little bit of nitric acid, to dissolve the silver Now look, the acids had a little bit of time to work, it’s time to pour it off, and rinse the gravel So here’s the cleaned gravel, and hopefully, all my silver is over here I’m actually gonna precipitate the silver from solution, along with the ashes ‘Cause I think it’ll make things a little bit easier on me I’ll just furnace all the ashes together But look at that: white silver chloride’s forming Here’s the sludge that settled out of the solution, and I’m gonna dry it out Now this is dry, I’m gonna add in a spoon full of assay flux, this contains litharge Which will collect the silver together into a bead And now, I’m gonna add it to this graphite crucible Now, let’s pop this in the furnace, and melt it all down Ok, now that it’s all melty, let’s pull it out of the furnace Pour it out on this metal plate… Here it is, that should be my silver and lead Alloyed together, now what I gotta do is separate them To do that, I’m going to put the metal into this little porous dish Which will absorb lead oxide, but it won’t absorb lead metal, or silver And I just put this in the furnace to oxidize the lead Ok, let’s see what we got here Oh dear… Ok… Little problem, I’ll fix that Ok, as you can se the cupel broke, but I got it out And, there’s a nice large bead of silver, awesome Ok, so here’s the silver bead, after I’ve cleaned it up a little bit, and there’s the precision scale But before we weight it, let’s actually double-check to see how much silver I should’ve expected So let’s assume that I could’ve extracted .00005 grams of silver from each of those little poppers Multiply that by 50, ’cause there’s that amount per bag, times 100, that’s the number of bags that I bought… That means I should expect a quarter of a gram of silver, ok… I can already tell this is probably more then a quarter gram, let’s put this on scale I’m getting 1.14 grams, so that’s actually more silver then I should be expecting Unless I did the math wrong… Perhaps the Wikipedia number was a bit off I mean, maybe it could be the brand, or maybe they added a little bit of extra in But anyway, I got roughly 4 times as silver that I was expecting Let’s see what I can make out of it Before you ask, no, I don’t think it’s actually the lead that added to it, giving it the extra weight Because after cupeling, the lead content should be reduced down to less then a couple percent So there’s definitely more silver than I was expecting Well at any rate, I’m gonna flatten this out and see if I can make a coin out of it So it’s not my best coin, but I’ve scratched “AG5000 POPS” in the front and “Cody’s Lab” in the back So obviously it’d be really hard to make money with these things, I mean I got 50 cents of silver out of 50 dollars of them *pop* But if you happen to be someone sweeping up, say, Times Square, or something, and you had literally tons of them Might be worth extracting the silver Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed, I’ll see you next time *pop*


  1. It wouldn't be worth all the work involved cleaning it up plus purchasing the chemicals to extract

  2. I'm pretty sure street sweepers probably don't have crusibles and a background in chemistry to figure out how to extract the silver

  3. Plan A: 1. Buy broom, 2. Fly to New York, 3. Wait until the smoke clears and people leave after NYE, 4. Sweep for 24 hours (while breakdancing) 5. Call Cody 6. Extract $5 worth of silver 7. Make $500 on collaboration video 8. Rent a street sweeper and do it all over again next year 9. Call Cody, 10. Recover $15 worth of silver, 11. Make $1000 collaboration video, 12. Rent more street sweepers, 13. Start street sweeper business, 14. Build cool stuff and make cool videos with the street sweeper business and silver refinery.

  4. That's weird. Did a little basic maths, and the average amount of silver in each of those bang snaps is around 0.000228 grams or 228 micrograms in proper terms. That's approximately 4.56 times bigger than the hypothesised 0.0005 grams. It'd be interesting to compare the properties of brands of snap bangs with more/fewer amounts of silver and see how extreme the differences get.

  5. I once tried opening a bunch of those poppers so i could put all the stuff inside of them into a larger container. Got through about 50 of them before the whole mixture in the container decided to spontaneously go off right in my face! My best friend was right next to me when it happened. we both just turned to each other and started laughing uncontrollably. All in all, dont try making a big popper by opening them.๐Ÿ˜‚

  6. If you take all the powder out of 25-30 boxes of bangsnaps, and place it all in a large piece of tissue paper to twist into one huge bangsnap, and load it into a sock you can swing, it becomes a very evil prank.

  7. Can anyone tell me how Cody learned as much as he knows and how he is so incredibly smart? Did he go to school for everything he knows or what?

  8. you really should use safety precautions when working with nitric acid. SERIOUSLY THAT STUFF CAN KILL YOU QUIK

  9. I loved the video. You really really should use safety precautions when working with nitric acid !!! SERIOUSLY

  10. Great video dude. That was cool to watch the process and loved your enthusiasm. Learned some stuff about chemistry also. Thanks for sharing.

  11. No it wouldnโ€™t be worth it even if you swept them up. The energy and fuel , processing time would still put you in the negative due to production costs

  12. Hearing you jump on all those poppers actually gave me a slight boner. Dont judge me shit was satisfying to hear. Same reaction would occur if I heard a 100 knuckles being popped.

  13. Hi there Cody, I read somewhere one time that you could collect the black sands from gold panning and soak in vinegar and then put it in salt then heat it up in a fire and it converts any traces of gold into a solid that can be recovered, is there any truth to that and do you know what I'm talking about?

  14. I know the video is old but I can see your hand shaking and the means toxic nerve damage from handling hazards materials plz go see doctor

  15. could'v just coocked em because the paper would just burn up and the molten silver will be at the bottom and pull off the slag and you got pure silver

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