33

Recovering Gold from Computer Scrap – Part 2



another popular thing to process our Ram trimmings and I went ahead and bought about 200 of them for those who are familiar with what Ram looks like I provide an example here so you can see where the trimmings come from so just like with the other stuff we want to get the gold off of the RAM trimmings and to do this we soak them in the mixture of hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid I did it a little differently here where I added 250 milliliters of peroxide first and then I just topped things off with the hydrochloric acid in the end though this is pretty much the same thing and it doesn't really matter which way it's done after I finished stirring it up I just put a large watch glass on top and I let it sit there for about a week this time I didn't use a bubbler to agitate things and I would just come around a few times a day and stir things up then just like you saw before I pour all the liquid through a strainer to separate the RAM trimmings I repeatedly wet the Ram trimmings with a spray bottle and then I shook them around to dislodge any of the loose gold I did this for a few minutes and I was able to separate a lot of the loose gold but just like before we're gonna have to do a secondary washing when we look at the bowl from the side we can see a lot of gold flakes floating around and it looks like a decent amount has sank to the bottom it would have been a huge mess if I added from the bowl directly so instead I just scooped out small portions using a beaker unlike last time this filtering step didn't take too long because I didn't wash things with way too much water and I only had something like a liter or two to filter through so we eventually get to the end of adding all of our greenish liquid I washed the beaker little and I let the final remains drip through while we were waiting for the last little bit to filter through I took my strainer with the Ram trimmings and I gave them a little bath I found the gold could be removed pretty efficiently just by dipping them occasionally and then shaking the strainer around the RAM trimmings were actually pretty clean prior to this washing so the yield is actually pretty abysmal you might be able to see some Ram trimmings with a little bit of gold still left on them and these will be included in future batches an entire trimming managed to make it through so I remove that but you can see a lot of other debris also made it so like before I use the beaker in a scoop the liquid out and I added it to the filter once everything had being added I washed the sides with a little bit of water to get all the gold down to the bottom I then let all of the water filter through and we are left with a nice little bit of gold at the bottom I drop the entire filter paper into a beaker and I open it up so that some of the gold flakes could fall out this time to dissolve the gold I'll use the other method which involves hydrochloric acid and bleach instead of nitric acid the first part is pretty similar where we add hydrochloric acid until everything is more or less covered for this next part we slowly add small amounts of bleach with a lot of stirring in between we really want to use as little bleach as possible so this is what we add it in small portions when bleach is mixed with hydrochloric acid it produces chlorine gas and the chlorine oxidizes metallic gold to gold 3 chloride then like we saw with aqua regia the gold chloride that forms reacts further with hydrochloric acid to form chloroauric acid eventually after enough bleach has been added all of the gold has dissolved and were ready to filter things off before filtering I first take out the stir rod then just like before I filter everything through a coffee filter but I make sure that the coffee filter and the beaker doesn't fall in it's important to wash out all of the gold solution from the coffee filter in the beaker so to do this I repeatedly add a little bit of water and then shake things around this is done a few times and we'll know that we're done washing things when the stuff that we pour away is colorless here's the final washing and the water that we pour off is practically colorless so we can pretty much assume that there's little to no gold left this has a final step I use a squirt bottle to wash out any gold that might still remain in the filter paper when I'm relatively satisfied that there's no gold left over in the filter paper or the funnel I take it away earlier in the video I mentioned something called the stannous chloride test and here I'm going to demonstrate what that is so what I do here is I take a piece of paper and I dip it into our gold solution and then I add a little bit of stannous chloride stannous chloride reacts with golden solution to form a purple precipitate we're just using it here to test for the presence of gold but it can also be used to differentiate between different precious metal solutions with gold we get a dark purple almost black color but with something like platinum we can get a yellow or brown color I just did the test here for demonstration purposes but it's most commonly done after we precipitate the gold to make sure that there's no gold left in solution with that being said we move on to the precipitation step and we add sodium metabisulfite to the solution in the first part of the video I added one spoonful and here I used two and honestly there was no real purpose for this it's kind of just what I felt like doing adding a little bit of excess sodium metabisulfite isn't a huge deal and we'll just be producing a little bit more so2 gas just like before as the gold ions react with the so2 the solution will go from a yellow color to a colorless one and black gold will start to precipitate out just by how dark the solution is here we can actually see that we got more gold in this run than we did in the previous one I let it sit for a while and the majority of the gold sank to the bottom instead of being black here it was more of a brown color and evidently we can see we got a lot more than last time separate out the gold we need to filter it and unlike before where I use the proper filter paper here I'm just going to use a coffee filter I try to get out as much gold as I can by quickly pouring it out of the beaker but a lot of it stays behind to clean out the last bit of gold that remained I just used a squirt bottle I then went ahead and wash the sides of the filter paper to try to knock down some of the gold I then took the coffee filter out of the funnel and I placed it somewhere to dry this is the liquid that was filtered through and I'm just going to do a quick stannous chloride test on it I actually did this test before I filtered things through but somehow I lost the footage this test should really be done before you filter everything through but anyway when I test it here it comes out negative you can see here what it looks like when it's dry and we're left with a nice clump of brown gold powder for temporary storage I transferred it to a small tram file and I moved on to processing a third source of gold as I said before this gold was generously given to me by our friend Robert Bradbury to get things started I took off the cap and I dropped in a small stir bar we don't have to remove this gold from any trimmings or computer parts so we can jump right into dissolving the gold out of the two methods that I had to dissolve the gold I decide to use aqua regia I used about a milliliter of hydrochloric acid to cover the gold and I put in about point three milliliters of nitric acid after stirring it for just a few minutes most of the gold had dissolved but there was still quite a bit floating around to get the rest of the gold to dissolve I alternated between adding a little bit of hydrochloric acid and a little bit of nitric acid eventually I got all the gold to dissolve but you can see a lot of debris still floating around it might look like there's a little bit of gold still left floating around but I can assure you that it's plastic or something else and that it's not actually gold anyway now that all the gold has dissolved we can move on to filtering it my little filtration system is made by combining a coffee filter at elastic and a dram vial I figure that since I was doing this on a small scale I might as well make some miniature apparatuses anyway just like you saw previously in the video after everything's being filtered through we wash the vial a few times and we also wash the filter paper once we're done we can remove the filter paper and we can move on to the precipitation step I went ahead and dumped in some sodium metabisulfite to precipitate the gold but then disaster struck up until this point it seemed like everything was going so well but unfortunately with chemistry there's always something that goes wrong I decided to finish processing the gold that was still in the DRAM vial before I moved on to salvaging what's spilled out I learned my lesson though and from this point on I only added small amounts of sodium metabisulfite to prevent it from bubbling over eventually I've added enough and I'm left with a colorless solution with gold floating around in it now I'll put the drive I'll aside and we can process the stuff that's spilled the first thing that I do is I use a pair of scissors and I cut out the affected area what we have here is a mix of golden solution and a little bit of precipitated gold the pieces of paper that were cut out were put in a beaker and that was placed on the side and now I wash things a little bit pretty much all of the precipitated gold stuck to the paper but a lot of the gold solutions soaked through so what you're seeing now is a classic paper towel extraction where everything is dissolved in the water that we add and then we soaked up all of the liquid using paper towel the washing could be done a few times if you want to make sure that you get absolutely everything but I figured I did a good enough of a job so I only did one real washing the paper towel and the piece of paper that we cut out was all shoved into one beaker and we go to make some more aqua regia all of the gold that was still in solution will just simply dissolve but we also need to read azov' all of the gold that precipitated this procedure is exactly the same that you saw before we dissolve everything aqua regia filter things and then we'll move on to the precipitation step with everything filtered through we can move on to our precipitation step so we can dump in some sodium metabisulfite just like before I swirled things around and the solution became colorless but this time no gold really precipitated out I think that my solution was way too dilute so when I precipitated things it made particles that were way too finely dispersed and they couldn't really aggregate all of the gold from the DRAM vial was then isolated using a little bit of filter paper in the end this is the gold that we got from our various sources on the Left we have it from the RAM trimmings in the middle is from the miscellaneous PCBs and on the right we have it from our friend Robert based on how much it cost me for the sources of the gold I really don't think this is a worthwhile endeavor if you are thinking about using it to make money I paid about $85 Canadian for the RAM trimmings and about $40 for the miscellaneous PCBs and both of these don't even come close to breaking even right now the market price for gold is about 57 Canadian dollars for a gram but with these sources I'm paying about 121 if I use the Ram trimmings and about 160 if I use the PCBs this type of gold recovery is only really worth it if you can get your sources for very cheap at the prices I got it it's obviously not worth it at all with that being said we can now move on to the next step where I melt everything together into a nice gold button to melt the gold I'm going to use a melting dish that I got from Amazon to start things off we need to heat up the dish and this has to be done as evenly as possible these melting dishes can withstand very high temperatures but they really can't handle temperature change if the dish is heated up too quickly or only heated in one spot it can pretty easily crack when I first start heating things here I don't turn the torch on full blast and I constantly move things around so that I don't get any hot spots just before we proceed further I really want to point out that melting metal like this is not my expertise and this is like the second time I've done it when I thought the dish was hot enough I start to sprinkle in a little bit of borax when the borax here melts it will serve as a flux and it will prevent the gold from sticking to the dish if it's applied correctly the liquid gold should be able to slide around on the dish and when we heat things up it should all come together as one blob the application of the borax was fine but the dish wasn't hot enough when I added it the borax should only be added when the dish is almost red-hot but I'm using a really bad torch here and had a hard time heating the whole thing up if the dish were hot enough the borax should be easily melted and form a glaze on the dish but because it wasn't it kind of just beated up instead it really wasn't ideal that there was just beads of borax so I tried heating up the dish more and adding more borax and melting it and it seemed to be a little bit better but it still wasn't ideal the filter papers that had the gold on it from earlier I stored in the same vial that I stored the golden and I added everything to the dish there was still some gold left in the glass vial so I used some paper towel to get it out once everything had been added to the crucible I started to heat things up with the torch and I started burning away the paper eventually we'll get to a point where there's really not very much paper left and there's mostly just gold before we go and start to melt the gold I add a little bit more borax on top of the remains the addition of this borax really make sure that I added enough and it also prevents the gold powder from blowing away when I use the torch even though I was using a map torch it really wasn't that powerful so it took a long time to melt the gold if we skip ahead just a few minutes we can see that the gold is starting to melt together this torch did work to melt the gold but it was an absolute struggle and it took forever to melt everything if we skip ahead just another few minutes we can see them left with a very small poorly formed gold bead and some gold debris I use my torch to blast the bead and liquify it and then I use my pliers to move the dish around so that the gold bead can pick up the other gold debris once we're left with a single gold bead I take the torch off it wait a few seconds for it to harden and then I pick it up with a pair of pliers immediately out of the crucible it actually had a pretty dark color at this point it's cooled down quite a bit but i dunk it into some water anyway after cooling things I open the pliers and I notice that it was actually stuck to it by a little bit of borax borax is water-soluble so the button was just cracked off the pliers and then thrown into some water to clean it up the final thing to do is to check our yield and we see that we got between 0.76 and 0.7 eight grams of gold with a little bit of calculations we can see that the gold trimmings contributed 64% to the gold button here 23% was from the other PCBs and about 13% was from our friend Robert if we multiply things out to see what each contributed in terms of mass we get 0.5 grams 0.18 grams and 0.1 grams respectively according to an infographic that I found on mining comm one metric tonne of e-waste can yield between 300 to 400 grams of gold for the RAM trimmings they're not very representative because the parts that weren't valuable were already cut off the PCBs that I processed in part one of these videos is much more representative and when I do the calculations it seems like the infographics pretty accurate I use 472 grams of the PCBs and when we do a little bit of math we see that we should be getting between point 1 4 and point 1 9 grams we actually got 0.18 grams which falls perfectly within this window anyway just as a conclusion processing a waste can be pretty fun but it's really not worth it unless you can do it in large quantities and you can get your a waste for cheap I got about 11 dollars worth of gold from a little bit more than a pound of PCBs so if you want to make a profit on this you're going to have to get it for much cheaper than $11 per pound on top of this you also have to account for the chemicals that you use as well as the time you spend doing this I think it's really worth doing if you're looking to just have fun but if you're looking to cut a profit you're going to have to do a lot more in-depth research anyway that's the end of this video I'm not sure which one I'll post next it might be the one where I make mercuric chloride but I don't really know anyway as usual I'd like to extend a big thanks to all of my supporters on patreon and especially those who donate $5 or more anyone who donates and supports when patreon gets to see my videos 24 hours before I release it to youtube and if you donate $5 or more you get your name at the end of the video like you see here in the next few months though I want to work on my patreon page a lot and I want to get more rewards going and maybe even get some higher tier ones and I want to also offer some patreon exclusive content also as usual here's the videos that I've currently filmed and the ones that plan to work on if you have any suggestions or ideas please feel free to leave them in the comments

Glenn Chapman

33 Comments

  1. Nowadays they just get free computer parts from recycling and Make gold bars from giant scaled up versions of these and so are pretty profitable

  2. This kid is an idiot he is obviously missing crucial steps to these process you have to De nox the AR/ AU solution first before you put sodium metabisulfite in to attempt to precipitate or you will you see how much gold he dissolved and how there's hardly anything coming down it's because it's desolving back into solution immediately notice the light color change and then it goes back seriously people do not watch his kid he's a crook he's a fraud his head cut all blown up and euge she probably don't even give a fuck he is Miss guiding people I'm sure of it

  3. By the way, many IC chip packages have 24k gold wire connecting the chip itself to the lead frame. But you will need to dissolve the epoxy to get to them.

  4. Is there a reason why you couldn't have just melted the filtered gold after the Aqua Regia step skipping the re-dissolution/precipitation step? Gold is quite noble so it shouldn't form any compounds during melting. Also. What about electrowinning/playing out the gold?

  5. ROTFLMAO! You've spent too much time in Chem Lab 🙂 I got the feeling with all the chemicals you used you lost money. What we do is take a rock grinder (like we use on ore) and grind the boards to dust. Then we take a gold pan and pan down to the heavies. Then into a tumbler and a tea spoon of lye for two hours to clean any film or residue off the gold. Then toss in a tablespoon of charged mercury and tumble two more hours. Squeeze that through a piece of chamois and get the amalgum. Put that into a retort to get the mercury back and get the sponge of gold. Fire that sponge and you got your button with NO loss of gold 🙂 The only chemical expense is a teaspoon of lye. When you get to skinning cats, there is more than one way son 🙂

  6. What a waste of fucking time for that little bit of gold you spend more and chemicals and in time that $11 if you get that you go to a pawn shop that will be like $2.34 LOL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *