11.9.13

Greener Gold: μεταλλουργική μέθοδος εξαγωγής χρυσού χωρίς κυάνιο ανακαλύφθηκε τυχαία!

Gold mining is using chemicals such as cyanide and mercury to separate the gold from the ore and other metals associated with it. These pollute the environment via mine tailings, and concentrate up the food chain. This dangerous process is currently used by most mining companies.

A chemistry "postdoc" made a lucky discovery that may well reduce this pollution when he found that a particular environmentally benign and cheap cornstarch derivative could replace the cyanide. The process was discovered in the test tube by accident, while trying to grow crystals of a particular cubic shape. He was initially disappointed when golden needles grew rapidly when he mixed the cornstarch with a gold solution. These turned out to be bundles of starch nanowires that had separated the gold out of solution and concentrated it. Follow up research revealed that the process was financially competitive and more efficient than current processes.

Full article here

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