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Chapter: 11th 12th std standard Class Organic Inorganic Physical Chemistry Higher secondary school College Notes

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Gold: Occurrence, principles of extraction, Properties and Uses

Atomic mass : 196.97 Valency : 1 and 3 Atomic number : 79 Symbol : Au Position in the periodic table : Period Number -6, Group Number -11.

Occurrence and principles of extraction of gold


Gold - 

Atomic mass : 196.97                  Valency : 1 and 3

Atomic number : 79                     Symbol : Au

Position in the periodic table : Period Number -6, Group Number -11.

Occurrence

Gold is mainly found in the native state either mixed with quartz in ancient rocks (vein gold) or scattered in sand and gravel (placer gold) or in the alluvial sand (alluvial gold).

Ores

The important ore of gold is

Alluvial sand or gravel

Nearly half of the total world production of gold comes from the mines in South Africa. India occupies 8th position among the gold producing countries of the world and account for about 2% of the total world production. The Kolar mines in Karnataka produce about 99.97% of our gold output.

Extraction from Gold Ores - Mac Arthur Forrest Cyanide Process.

The extraction of gold from the sulphide or telluride ore involves the following

steps :

i)     Crushing, grinding and concentration

The gold ore is crushed and powdered, and then concentrated by froth- floatation process.

ii)    Roasting

The concentrated ore is roasted in excess of air or oxygen when impurities of sulphur, arsenic and tellurium are oxidised and escape as their volatile oxides.

iii) Treatment with KCN

The finely powdered roasted ore is taken in large vats made up of cement  or iron and having false wooden bottoms with holes. It is then treated with a dilute (0.5%) solution of KCN in presence of excess of air for 24 hours. As a result, gold dissolves in KCN to form a soluble complex called potassium aurocyanide.

4Au + 8KCN + 2H2O + O2  4K[Au(CN)2] + 4KOH

Pot. aurocyanide

iv) Precipitation of gold

The above solution containing potassium aurocyanide is filtered to remove insoluble impurities and then treated with zinc dust. Gold being less electropositive than zinc, it gets precipitated.

 

2K[Au(CN2] + Zn K2[Zn(CN)4] + 2 Au

The precipitated gold is recovered by filtration .It is further purified by electro- refining.

iv) Electrolytic refining

This method is used when very pure gold is required. The impure gold is made the anode while a thin sheet of pure gold acts as the cathode. The electrolyte consists of a solution of auric chloride (AuCl3) acidified with 10-12% HCl. On passing current pure gold gets deposited on the cathode.

Properties

Physical properties

i)     Gold is a lustrous yellow metal which melts at 1063 o C to a green liquid and boils at 2610 o C.

ii)    It is the most malleable and ductile of all metals.

iii)    It is a good conductor of heat and electricity.

Chemical properties

i)     Gold is unaffected by dry or moist air or oxygen.

ii)        Alkalies have no action on gold.

iii) With Aquaregia

Gold dissolves in aquaregia (3 parts of con.HCl + 1 part of con.HNO3) to

form auric chloride.

2Au + 9 HCl + 3HNO3  2AuCl3 + 6H2O + 3NOCl

Auric chloride   Nitrosyl chloride

iv) With chlorine

At 200 o C, gold is readily attacked by chlorine forming auric chloride.

2Au + 3Cl2  2AuCl3

Uses

i)     It is used in coinage, jewellery and ornamental vessels.

ii)    Gold leaf is used for decorations, lettering and in medicine as tonic.

iii)    "Purple of cassius" which is a combination of gold with colloidal stannic hydroxide is used for making ruby red glass and high class pottery.

Fineness of gold

Gold content of an alloy of gold is termed its fineness and is generally expressed in carats. Pure gold is 24 carats. Ornaments available these days are made of 18 carat gold, which is an alloy containing 18 parts by weight of gold alloyed with 6 parts by weight of another metal generally copper.

 

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