Who finds scrap, finds a fortune

Who finds scrap, finds a fortune

Here's how to extract the precious metals that can be found inside electronic refuse.

[su_highlight background="#042653" color="#ffffff"]RETAIL[/su_highlight] When we get rid of a mobile phone, a computer or a TV that we no longer need, we probably don't realise that we a throwing away a small fortune. Most electronic devices, in fact, contain a certain quantity of precious metal, especially gold, which is often used because of its excellent conductive properties. With the right extraction tools, these precious materials can become a highly profitable business. Here are some suggestions on how to effectively, and above all safely,  extract the most sought-after alloys found in discarded electronic components.

Turpentine Because it has no side effects in terms of environmental damage, the top choice for  those who want to extract gold from electronic refuse is spirit of turpentine - a compound made of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. It does, however, require taking the correct safety measures to ensure the controlled release of toxic gases that can be emitted during the procedure.

Bio-leaching Nowadays bacteria are proving to be very useful in many scientific applications - from medicine to agriculture - and the recovery of precious metals is no exception. In fact, taking advantage of the principles of bio-hydrometallurgy, a discipline included in the category of biotechnologies that foresee the use of microbes in the recovery or treatment of metals, precious metals can be separated from their plastic components (with the help of the so-called Chromobacterium violaceum) in a totally ecological and safe way.

Cyanide This toxic substance - it is, in fact, an authentic poison - is able to bind with gold, creating gold ions that can then be distilled to obtain the precious metal in its purest form.  However, the obvious danger of this process makes it a very delicate process and means respecting strict safety rules.

Combustion The most primitive method for extracting gold from electronic refuse is combustion. Fire separates the precious metal from the other components in the device, often of a plastic nature, and it is these that can release toxic and highly dangerous fumes during the process. Therefore, this method is used very rarely, since it is impossible to perform  it professionally and safely.

Galvanoplastics This term refers to an extraction method  that actually inverts the procedure with which the gold is "fixed" to the electronic devices. The operation is done with the help of a siphon , after which the gold is extracted by triggering its attraction towards another metallic object.

Protection Particular attention to safety is absolutely indispensable. In fact, the various procedures for extracting precious metals from electronic scrap require the use of dangerous substances such as fire and chemical compounds. Damage from inhaling fumes or from coming into skin contact with the substance are the risks that must be managed with the greatest responsibility. It is therefore recommended to use long gloves, anti-gas masks and protective clothing • MG

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