Freddie Mercury had a golden voice, but genuine mercury, that endlessly amusing and deadly liquid metal, has a golden touch. That is, if it comes into contact with gold, it will rapidly break the precious metal's lattice links and produce an alloy, a process known as amalgamation. Amalgamated gold is less pure than natural gold, but it can be used in alloys such as brass or silver.
If you're thinking of how to deal with your gold after a fall event, then read on. The best option depends on how much gold you have, where you are, and what kind of insurance you have.
If it's a small amount then just sell it at a market price. If it's more than $10,000 then call a professional gold buyer. They will handle everything for you, from finding a buyer to taking care of any legal issues that may arise.
If it's between $10,000 and $1 million then put aside some part of your payment in case you get hit with tax penalties. If you've done nothing wrong and you have valid documentation then you should be able to show that you had no knowledge of the gold being illegal and should be able to keep all of its profits. However, if you don't claim all your income on your taxes then you might not be so lucky. You should also set up a plan B for when you can't sell all your gold.
Gold may be dissolved in a solution of chlorine and nitric acid. In order for mercury to cling to gold, it must be clean. Sometimes placer gold is coated with a thin layer of oil, which prevents the gold from amalgamating unless the oil is removed first. The easiest way to do this is to heat the material together in an oven.
The gold can then be extracted by treating the mixture with aqua regia, which is a solution of hydrochloric acid and potassium hydroxide. The mercury remains behind in the acid solution.
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Many metals, including gold and silver, dissolve with mercury to produce amalgams. Amalgams are useful because they are hard materials that do not wear away like pure metal. In fact, gold is quite resistant to most chemicals and can be melted down and re-used over and over again.
When gold is dissolved in mercury, both elements are removed from their standard states and transformed into a mixture called an amalgam. This material is used because it has greater strength than either gold or mercury alone. The mercury takes on the role of lubricant which makes the gold easier to work with. Although gold is not destroyed by the process, it cannot be reused for more jewelry once it has been dissolved in mercury.
People often ask if they can use regular household mercury products on their gold jewelry. Yes, as long as the label says it is safe for metals, you can use it on your jewelry. But be careful not to let any spill onto other items such as plastic or rubber toys because even at low levels of exposure, mercury is dangerous for humans and animals.
The best way to protect yourself against mercury poisoning is by avoiding exposures to it.
After the third and last process, carefully place the gold in a crucible and heat it to 1180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. You are now left with pure gold. Why does mercury dissolve so many metals, including gold? Mercury is a liquid at standard temperature and pressure (STP). Even at very low temperatures, it remains a liquid. The only way to make it solidify is by pressure. When you melt gold, it becomes a liquid because there are some atoms inside the gold that want to be closer together than they are in the solid form of gold. They achieve this by combining with other atoms to form a new substance with different properties. For example, if we combine two hydrogen atoms with an atom of carbon, we get methane - one molecule of gas. If we combine three hydrogen atoms with an atom of carbon, we get ethane - two molecules of gas. Gold has a natural content of carbon and hydrogen. When you melt gold, the carbon and hydrogen atoms inside the gold move around until they find other atoms to join with. This causes the gold to become a liquid.
Mercury is also made up of atoms which are similar to those found in gold. When these atoms mix with each other, they form a liquid. But unlike gold, mercury is not useful as a metal because it is too soft.