Extracting pure silver from a coin | Summary and Q&A

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November 3, 2014
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NileRed
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Extracting pure silver from a coin

TL;DR

This video demonstrates a method to extract silver from coins or other silver sources, using nitric acid and copper wire.

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Key Insights

  • 💁 Concentrated nitric acid is used to dissolve the silver and form nitric oxide.
  • 💦 The reaction between silver and nitric acid produces toxic fumes, emphasizing the importance of working in a well-ventilated area.
  • 🥈 Copper wire is added to the solution to displace the silver and form silver metal.
  • 🥈 The silver extraction process is not quantitative, and some silver is lost.
  • 🫠 The final extracted silver appears as a nondescript gray powder and needs to be melted and cooled to regain its metallic shine.
  • 🫠 Patience is required when melting the silver, as it takes time to reach its melting point.
  • 😎 Sticking the silver in the crucible can make it difficult to remove, so pouring it onto a surface to cool down is recommended.

Transcript

In this video we will extract silver from a coin or another silver source. This method can be used to obtain nearly pure silver when the silver is mixed in with other metals. So you're only going to need about less than 20 milliliters of concentrated nitric acid and some silver coins or another silver source. Please note that this experiment is mor... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What materials do you need to extract silver from coins?

You will need concentrated nitric acid, water, silver coins or another silver source, copper wire, a beaker, a funnel, filter paper, a crucible, and a torch.

Q: Why is it necessary to carry out the reaction in a fume hood or well-ventilated area?

The reaction between silver and nitric acid produces toxic fumes, including nitrogen dioxide. Working in a well-ventilated area ensures safety.

Q: Why is copper wire added to the solution after the silver has dissolved?

Copper wire is added to precipitate and displace the silver from the solution, forming silver metal. It also reacts with excess nitric acid to prevent the loss of silver.

Q: Is the silver extraction process quantitative?

No, the silver extraction process is not quantitative. Some silver is lost in the process, and the video mentions losing about ten percent of the silver during extraction.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The video shows how to extract silver from coins or other silver sources using concentrated nitric acid and water, followed by the addition of a silver quarter.

  • The reaction between the silver and nitric acid produces toxic fumes and the color change is due to the reaction of copper with the nitric acid.

  • The solution is filtered to remove impurities, and copper wire is added to precipitate the silver. The silver is then filtered, dried, melted, and cooled to obtain the final extracted silver.

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