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Author: Subject: Separation of a US nickel
LanthanumK
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 04:55
Separation of a US nickel


I like to separate alloys. The US nickel, for reference, is 75% copper and 25% nickel.

My first separation procedure is: Electrolytically oxidize nickel. Dissolve green precipitate in sulfuric acid. In the presence of a powerful magnetic field, electrolyze the blue-green NiSO4/CuSO4 solution (do not use iron electrodes). Nickel, being magnetic, will be attracted to the magnet as it is formed at the cathode while copper will just stick onto the electrode or fall off.

My second separation procedure is: Electrolytically oxidize nickel. Dissolve green precipitate in hydrochloric acid. You may get a black solution if there is copper(I) in the oxide mixture (http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/riddles/copperI+c...) or you may get a green solution if it is all copper(II). Either way, add ascorbic acid. White copper(I) chloride will precipitate. Nickel will remain in solution. Filter and electrolyze to precipitate nickel metal.

Procedure 1 takes advantage of nickel's magnetism. Procedure 2 takes advantage of nickel's (relative) lack of a lower oxidation state.

Anyone have anything for a potential Procedure 3?

[Edited on 27-6-2011 by LanthanumK]




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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 05:24


Drive to Canada. Go to a bank. Ask for a brick of nickels (100$ worth) Those from 1955 to 1981 are pure nickel metal.

Naturally, only f you are after the metal, and not just looking for some chemistry to do...




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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 05:40


In the electroplating industry, plating baths are routinely maintained by "dummy plating" overnight. Bath impurities such as copper and zinc plate out onto a scrap cathode while ions such as hex chrome, nickel, etc, remain in solution.

The trick is to very carefully regulate the voltage, current, and electrode current density. It takes quite some time and you'll never realistically get below 1-2% copper (in your case) by this way alone. Cu and Ni salts have near identical solubilities in most solvents - a major headache.

AFAIK, Ni ions are non-magnetic. The ions would first need to be reduced (plated) at the cathode before a magnet would attract them. You'd be back at square one with Cu co-plated. :(

Tank
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LanthanumK
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 05:56


So would I just be plating cupronickel back onto the electrode using procedure 1?

m1tanker78: Why wasn't nickel plated out just like copper and zinc were?

When I conducted procedure 2, I obtained a magnetic precipitate at the cathode. So I know that procedure 2 works.




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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 06:27


In a nickel bath, Ni is codeposited to a considerable degree but the bath is replenished with 'pure' nickel ions (anodes). In a hex chrome bath, Cu can more or less be selectively "dummied" out by careful regulation of the power supply and electrode arrangement.

Regarding the magnetic precipitate...

Keep an eye out for Fe(III). Barring that, yes, Cu and Ni will codeposit, most likely with a coarser grain. Whether or not it can be called cupronickel is up in the air. In my book it is cupronickel.

BTW, how are you suspending the nickel(s) in the electrolyte?

Tank
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 07:32


Dissolve nickels into nitric acid, pass Hydrogen sulfide through the solution; CuS seperates. Filter. Gas filtrate to ensure complete separation. Filter. You have a pure solution of Nickel (II).

Dissolve nickels, add a slight excess of HCl or NaCl relative to copper. Pass SO2 through the solution. CuCl precipitates, filter. Repeat to ensure complete precipitation. The filtrate is a nickel(II) solution.

[Edited on 6-27-2011 by smuv]




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LanthanumK
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 08:56


smuv: SO2 and ascorbic acid function similarly. The nickels dissolve rather slowly in HCl; to me electrolytic oxidation seems faster. Just don't use concentrated nitric acid or you may have an explosion (according to Wikipedia).

The sulfide method can be a procedure 3.

Tank: Alligator clip on the top is the method for suspending a nickel.




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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 09:42


There are atlest two or three complete threads on this very same topic.

I found dissolution of the Cu and Ni chlorides into (aq) Ammonium Hydroxide precipitated the Nickle oxide/hydroxide as a green precipitate while complexing with the Copper ions.

Many have tried to tell me this is impossible since Nickle also complexes with Ammonia but I have repeated the experiment time and time again and sure enough the resulting precipitate is a Cu free Nickle compound. It has to be washed several times with clean H2O and thats where the issue comes in because the precipitate is very fine. Also to large an excess of NH3 appears to dissolve everything instead of precipitating the Nickle. Best to make a very concentrated solution of the metal salts and drip in Ammonium hydroxide until precipitate stops forming then add some excess cold water. You will be left with a green precipitate and a deep blue solution. Once cleaned the precipitate quickly goes into an HCl solution and dries to deep green needle like crystals.





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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 10:53


true true true lanthanumK there is a thread for this. you'd be very welcomed there to give it a shot. ammonia didnt work for me because i would probably need gallons and gallons to finally wash out the copper. electrodes work alright but if a copper electrode is used for coppper extraction you will be dumping more copper into solution and if you use nickel electrode you will still have nickel and copper in the solution. somehow i think the hydrogen sulfite method will probably work. nickel hydroxide method has been tried and copper hydroxide also. the idea was to turn one of the metals to its insoluble hydroxides and separate them. ascorbic acid? you mean like the stuff used in water purification or plain vitamin c? i like it because i have ascorbic acid.you say dissolve green precipitate? what precipitate? wont it be all in solution? what is oxidize electrolytically?
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 12:05


Cyanureeves, you move from sounding like an expert to a beginner. Anyway, I searched for "nickel from nickel" and only came up with this thread.

Gallons and gallons of NH3: Not if you use CuSO4/NiSO4 or CuCl2/NiCl2 solution. Even Cu(OH)2/Ni(OH)2 may be fast enough to be practical. If it is proven that Ni(OH)2 does not dissolve in NH3 to any significant amount, then that can be procedure 4.

I'm not sure what you are speaking about, with copper and nickel electrodes. The US nickel is the anode. The cathode material does not matter. Both Ni(OH)2 and Cu(OH)2 will be produced during electrolytic oxidation (with NaHCO3 or NaOH electrolyte). Because reaction of a nickel with HCl is so slow, I think electrolytic oxidation is better.

Are you confused? The ascorbic acid is to be used to reduce the NiCl2/CuCl2 solution to NiCl2/CuCl, which filtering can separate. It is not used to dissolve the precipitates as it is too weak of an acid.




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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 12:05


Once the copper is complexes Cyanu all you need to do is filter and wash. If you add to much ammonia then thats when the complex with Ni seems to form but I have only ever seen this once while dripping the salt solution into the hydroxide instead of the other way around.

When I get time I may mess around a bit more just to make a general writeup for it but as it stands Nickle oxides and chlorides are not extremely expensive from my ceramics dealer and I would spend way to much time and money attempting to extract it from currency.





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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 12:08


Can you get 500 mg of nickel chloride for $0.50 or a deal similar to that at your ceramics supplier? When one conducts microchemistry on a limited budget, purchases are normally out of the picture. Nickels are not.



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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 13:35


Quote: Originally posted by LanthanumK  
Can you get 500 mg of nickel chloride for $0.50 or a deal similar to that at your ceramics supplier? When one conducts microchemistry on a limited budget, purchases are normally out of the picture. Nickels are not.

Lanth, I think you're counting your chicks before they've hatched. I'm not downplaying the ascorbic acid method to isolate Ni but you haven't provided a yield figure - if you've tried it at all yet.

@Sedit: How does NH3 stack up in sulfate liquor? I have some concentrated Cu/Ni sulfate but ammonium sulfate is much more soluble than NH4Cl so I doubt this would work well. Can you post a link to the topic you're referencing? TFSE sent me on a wild goose chase.

Thanks,
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 14:22


I took some old cupronickel coins and put them into HCl(aq) and then added 1,5mL of ammonium nitrate solution. I will wait until they dissolve and then I will try to separate copper from nickel using potassium metabisulfite solution. Will report the results.
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 14:24


Will the excess nitrate and metabisulfite react, consuming the latter reactant?



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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 14:27


The ascorbic acid method is very time consuming and possibly inefficient, as are all of my methods, but does not require any expensive chemicals like nitric acid. Is doing that known as "ghetto chemistry"?

[Edited on 27-6-2011 by LanthanumK]




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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 16:04


lanthanumK. when i wrote using nickel as electrode i meant pure nickel metal as anode to plate out the nickel only out of solution. i have tried to plate the copper out of the solution using copper metal as anode also and even though much of the copper plates out to the cathode much will be left in the solution. ghetto chemistry or not ,as long as it works as good as the Hamptons chemistry.

[Edited on 28-6-2011 by cyanureeves]
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 16:21


Quote: Originally posted by LanthanumK  
...Is doing that known as "ghetto chemistry"?
[Edited on 27-6-2011 by LanthanumK]

It depends on who you ask. I call it resourcefulness. Other here will think it's tacky. Who cares!?

What are you using for a power supply? You might be able to get away with stacking the coins higher than the electrolyte level and devising a simple gravity contact (for the anode). Personally, I'd do that for the cathode as well. The idea is to keep Zn and Fe (from alligator clips or w/e) out of the solution.

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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 16:27


Quote: Originally posted by LanthanumK  
Will the excess nitrate and metabisulfite react, consuming the latter reactant?


Maybe, if solution is enough acidic there should be HNO3 that will oxidize SO2 to SO3 (in solution to H2SO4). But I will neutralize the solution with carbonate until almost neutral to not waste too much metabisulfite that could escape into air as SO2. By the way, I will dilute the solution because CuCl is soluble in more concentrated HCl(aq) (also, concetrated here doesn't mean 30%, i seen 19% HCl dissolving CuCl)
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 16:34


i dont know if its too late but the other thread is ( how extrac nickel ) by plante1999

[Edited on 28-6-2011 by cyanureeves]
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[*] posted on 28-6-2011 at 03:40


If I have a pure nickel electrode already, I don't think I would bother doing all this work to extract a few milligrams of nickel from a coin. <s>Tank, I have a video of my typical electrolysis procedure; if I can post it I will</s>I have it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5zEaX5ULOw. You can see that the alligator clips do not touch the electrolyte, although they are heavily corroded from spattering. The container is a medicine cup.

[Edited on 28-6-2011 by LanthanumK]

[Edited on 28-6-2011 by LanthanumK]




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[*] posted on 28-6-2011 at 04:26
problem solved


Quote: Originally posted by The_Davster  
Drive to Canada. Go to a bank. Ask for a brick of nickels (100$ worth) Those from 1955 to 1981 are pure nickel metal.

Naturally, only f you are after the metal, and not just looking for some chemistry to do...
davster you must know E.S.P.
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[*] posted on 8-7-2011 at 08:47


Quote: Originally posted by LanthanumK  
Can you get 500 mg of nickel chloride for $0.50 or a deal similar to that at your ceramics supplier? When one conducts microchemistry on a limited budget, purchases are normally out of the picture. Nickels are not.




No I can not, if I did I would find a new supplier because that price is outrageous. I can order almost any amount I want since she breaks it down out of 50lb bags for me. Nickle oxides being such powerful coloring agents they are its not unheard of for someone to request only a few grams at a time. I on the other hand by quarter pound bags when I need it.



""
@Sedit: How does NH3 stack up in sulfate liquor? I have some concentrated Cu/Ni sulfate but ammonium sulfate is much more soluble than NH4Cl so I doubt this would work well. Can you post a link to the topic you're referencing? TFSE sent me on a wild goose chase."""

I think its in a thread titled separation of Cu++ and Ni++ ions or some shit like that. I believe there are still pictures of the green precipitate there that I acquired. If you still can't find it ill have a look around. I wish I could remember all the details but all my notes where on a computer thats crashed and my memory is as good as a gold fish.





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[*] posted on 8-7-2011 at 10:27


Of course, you would not buy 100 500mg packets; the price would be outrageous then.

If I use 50mg per experiment, 500g (at a discount price) will be enough to conduct 10,000 experiments; I may do 10. That is a waste of chemicals, storage space, and a toxicity hazard if I ever want to dispose of it. I agree with what woelen says here on his site: http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/misc/chemicals.ht... except I take it farther. The 1 oz of NaBr I purchased was way too much; I only didn't buy a smaller quantity because none were available.




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[*] posted on 21-7-2011 at 12:36


I'm dissolving (electrolytically) a few US nickels as we speak. I'm also simultaneously dummy plating out the copper, with the understanding that it won't completely plate out. The idea is to reduce the copper content AMAP to ease subsequent purification somewhat. I'm using HCl so I can give the ammonia treatment mentioned above a try as well. Keeping with the spirit of reducing waste, I'm collecting the excess spongy copper to try to make this experiment as 'cost-effective' as possible. I don't think it's a good substitute for buying pure job-specific salts but the results will certainly be filed away with my notes, regardless of the outcome.

Tank
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