Saturday, 14 January 2017

How to Recover Silver from Electrical Silver Contacts?

Silver contacts are either made of pure silver and are soldered on copper strips or copper contacts are coated with a thick layer of silver. In both the conditions silver can be recovered with nitric acid (HNO3).
If the silver contacts are soldered on copper strips, you can cut the copper strips with a cutter to separate silver contacts from them. Now put all the silver contact points into a stainless steel pot. Take one part of nitric acid (68%) and one part of water and mix them together. Now pour this dilute nitric acid in small quantities onto the silver points in the stainless steel pot. The copper and silver will react with nitric acid and start dissolving into it. This reaction produces some smoke. So, either you should do it in the open or in a room with exhaust fan, so that the exhaust fan should send all the smoke out into the air. Keep pouring dilute nitric acid into the pot till all the metals dissolve into the solution. Now there are two metals in the solution in the form of nitrates that is- Silver nitrate and copper nitrate. First, we will recover silver from this solution. To do that, take HCL (Hydrochloric acid) 35% purity. Mix HCL with silver nitrate solution in small increments. Stop adding HCL to the solution when silver chloride stops separating from the solution. Decant the solution when silver chloride (AgCl) has settled down to the bottom completely.

Heat up some water and add it to the silver chloride. You can use a plastic pot for it. Take round iron pieces of around two inch diameter and half inch thickness. Put these iron rings onto silver chloride in plastic container. Slowly move around these iron rings for some time with a wooden rod. Silver chloride will start changing color and converting into pure silver. Stop stirring the rings when there is no silver chloride left in the container. Now you have got pure silver dust. Take out the rings; wash the silver dust with plain water three times. Dry this dust, and melt it into a solid piece of silver.

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