I know you can dissolve gold in mercury, but i do not have access to any. Would it be possible to dissolve it in molten zinc instead mercury.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Of cause, if you melt both metals together you would get an alloy of both. $\endgroup$
    – Andreas
    Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for suggesting a way to extract Au without Hg -- if it works, it would be to the benefit of the environment. $\endgroup$ Commented May 27 at 22:30

2 Answers 2


Yes. There are alloys and intermetallic compounds up to $\ce{44\%Au:56\%Zn}$. This phase diagram is from here.

enter image description here

That said, crystal structure changes with composition, so appearance on solidification might be hard to predict.

Are you trying to emulate Hevesy?

  • $\begingroup$ No, my planned use for this is to process gold too fine to pan from black sand, without using expensive chemicals or mercury. $\endgroup$
    – brad
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting idea... it also avoids use of poisonous Hg. If practical, it might be necessary to blanket in inert gas, as Zn is reactive. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ I not sure, but it will need a fair amount of sulfuric acid to disolve the zinc. As for a inert gas CO2 should work. $\endgroup$
    – brad
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 8:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Brad not sure about CO2. Could form CO+ZnO at elevated temp. N2 is safer. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 20:22

Gold looks pretty soluble in molten zinc. The melting temperature increases up to about 625 C with 50% gold.Charcoal on the surface of the melt will partly protect the zinc ; I have seen charcoal used on lead but not zinc.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.