For our culminating activity, we had to extract gold from electronics. We chose this because we felt this would be the most fun and rewarding, after all, in the end you do end up with gold! We both have heard of this idea of extracting gold from electronics but never knew it was this simple and could be done in class!
We were surprised with how much gold is actually in an electronic. Although it was more than we expected, it was still very thin pieces of gold foil. In the end, we were pleasantly surprised by how much gold we did get but agreed it was a lot of time and effort for such little amounts of gold with many impurities in it.
Steps that we followed to extract gold:
1) Get the parts of the electronics with gold out of the electronic device.
2) Put all the pieces of the electronic with gold on it in Hydrochloric Acid for 48hrs.
3) Strain the Hydrochloric Acid solution with a gauze strainer.
4) Strain the remaining of the solution again with a plastic strainer.
5) Put a "spinner" in the solution and let it gather all the excess metal and get air into the solution.
6) Strain the remaining of the solution again with filter paper.
7) Lay the filter paper out to dry with all the gold foil still on it.
Throughout this process, we did face some issues and problems that we know we could improve on if we were to ever do this project again! Some problems were...
- not getting all the gold out of the electronics to be put in Hydrochloric Acid
- not letting the gold pieces of electronics to sit in the Hydrochloric Acid long enough
- using gauze as a strainer which left clumps of it in the solution
- losing pieces of gold while straining the gold solution
If we were to extend our studies, we would research how to purify gold. With the knowledge we gain from research, we would use this information and apply it to our studies. We would use the gold we extracted from the electronics and try to purify it. We feel this would make the project just that much more rewarding.