Salvaging Silver from Scrap
This calls for a miscellaneous post! I have been watching loads of online scraping YouTube videos. Particularly I like this one: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oeg2DW1vAQ Basically in all electronic components that switch things on or off (switches, knobs, relays etc.) there are these little silver buttons or contacts as they are called. They are used as distribution points and are designed to take the “brunt force” when the initial spark is created when the circuit is closed. These eventually tarnish and oxidize and the AgO2 acts as a resistor albeit with a small resistance. This resistance causes heat which causes more silver to be oxidized and causes a positive feedback loop that eventually causes the relay to stop working. When this happens they need to be replaced. At work we do loads of work on marine inverters which use about 4-6 relays per inverter. We regularly have to change out relays. After so many cycles they are simply kaputt. Steve, my boss at work lets me take the boards home and smash open the relays and extract the silver buttons.
I have currently amassed about 200g of buttons. As soon as I collect more I will, providing my science teacher is receptive to the idea, put them in a HCl + H2O2 bath. Hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide mixed together will eat away at all of the copper and other base metals. After a couple days, only silver will be left. I can then take this silver over to my propane torch and melt it. The melting temperature of silver is 1,763°F and a propane torch can get up to 3,623 °F. Yeah, that should do it >:) My molten silver syrup will be cast into an ingot. I will then be one home made silver ingot closer to world domination! Mwaaaaaaaahaha *cough* I mean I should be very exciting. Definitely a post on it when I get that far.