Friday, April 29, 2011

Turning Gold to Dust

Most people are used to seeing gold in different forms. Usually, gold that is not placed into jewelry or plated onto items is stored in the shape of a bar. Gold bars are a standard form of keeping gold, and is worldwide recognized object. Gold nuggets have also become recognized due to the presence in the news and media when raw gold is found around the world. A very rare form of viewing gold however is in dust, as produced by the liquid acid Aqua Regia.

Gold dust dissolved by Aqua Regia.

Aqua Regia is a red/yellow liquid acid solution that is so corrosive it can dissolve gold. It was named Aqua Regia because not only can it dissolve gold, but it can also dissolve other of the so-called royal metals, such as platinum. As far back as medieval history, Aqua Regia has been used to dissolve gold into dust. It was even used during World War 2 to help prevent the taking of Nobel prizes by the Nazi’s in Germany by a German chemist named George De Hevesy. George, upon hearing that the Nobel Prizes of Max Von Laue and James Franck would be confiscated, decided to use Aqua Regia to turn the Nobel Prizes to gold dust. After successfully hiding them as dust, he returned them to the Nobel Foundation who then remade the prizes out of the same gold and presented them again to Laue and Franck.

Aqua Regia is still used today.

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