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platinum group metals .... Why so difficult?

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The topic is platinum group metals.  And how to process. 

I'll start with the basic method everyone seems to know. Using a highly corrosive substance known as costic soda(lye) mixed into a purified water soak your material add current to speed up the process...  This will result in a sludge/slime  of metals.(elements)  .... I'm going to stop right there with that method.  Sure it works to dissolve the metals into dust but can tend to leave a less Than pure results. And can be frustrating and dangerous. 

Starting over...  

Sodium bicarbonate and purified water mix well add current.(electricity) ..  Your material of course in container already.  If there is any palladium in the content it will turn the liquid blue.  Continue until the color changes.  Which, if you have rhodium, it will.  Once the color starts to change stop.  Again stop.  Drain and repeat the same process until blue is done(pd) then again until the reddish brown(rh)... Usually starts as a light yellow but darkens as it concentrates.  Continue until it is clear. Neutralize and dry each.  This step has separated the delicate precious metals known as palladium and rhodium. 

Next....  Using sulphuric acid (battery acid)  process the material.  Note it's best to neutralize and rinse material between each step to get a cleaner purified result.... A murky sludge is going to cloud the liquid.  This slime like sludge is the ferrous or base metals such as brass copper iron and some zinc...  Once you've separated the base into its container (personally I dispose of it after neutralizing it.... That's up to you) 

Next step we are going  to process the denser and more acid resistant gold and platinum.  Using a nitric acid or aqua Regis.  (rinse material after each step in a neutralizing liquid)  if there is gold or platinum in the material it will begin to turn a yellow to brown color. (I let it darken up about three good times before a all clear)  Continue until the liquid is clear.  Once the gold and possible platinum have been dried you can use a round pan and spin it lightly. This will draw the heavier platinum to the center  and the lighter gold to the outside.(if you did not separate your pd from the rh in its liquid form and got a greenish color you can use the pan technique after they are dried)  This step has separated the gold and platinum.  

Now to prep for heat.  Each element that has been separated has a different density and weight. Weigh each individually. ... And prep the flux.  Yes you can buy a pre made flux (I recommend Harris stay clean products. ) personally I mix my own (now, but have used several brands) and call it mud.  Using one part nitric acid compound one part boric acid and one part costic soda(lye) . This mixture will heat on its own and would look like mud..(. That's why I call it mud.) each element having it's own weight,  means mix mud for each approximately two thirds the weight.  (the mud will burn clean and leave minimal if any residue. )

Now you are ready for heat.  ... Pending what method you are using will have certain variables than can be discussed as the question is asked....  When your element has liquefied (gotten molten and like liquid)  pour into mold and press and quench (quenches can be mixed as you like I'm sure there are recipes had by all ,we can share those here too)  then cool. ... 

When cool view your find in its purest form and note the colors and lusters of each.  From there you can mix or monetize as you do but the pure will be a constant and retrieveable if you wanted to start again for whatever reason. 

If you have any questions regarding this process or would like an example  just ask. 

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