Silver is one of the most commonly used metals globally. Apart from gold, this is one metal that has multiple uses right from jewelry to industrial use. A lot of people might not know this, but silver is also used in making a lot of electronics as well as industrial machines. Now that we recycle everything to make the most of it many people also like to recycle silver and use it in other ways.
How to Melt Silver with Borax?
The silver’s melting temperature is 961 degrees Celsius, which is higher than gold. Melting gold is comparatively easy as compared silver, but like other metals, melting silver and remolding is not that difficult. One can quickly melt this metal at home if a proper procedure is known. This melted silver can be used to make a piece of art, jewelry, and much more. And although there are a lot of ways in which one can melt silver, we will mainly look at how to melt silver with borax.
Keep in mind that this method is mainly for silver chloride, and melting 1kg of silver chloride will give you approximately 500 to 700 grams of silver. Borax is used to melt the metal as it helps in softening and dissolving the oxidized layer from the ore. This process is also known as a borax flush, which aids in exposing the fresh layer of the metal for further use. Due to its ability to expose the metal layer without affecting the metal’s purity, borax is used in melting gold, silver, aluminum, etc.
- Safety gear
- Silver compound
- Sodium Nitrate
- A pair of thongs
- Mold or cast
- A bowl of cold water
The first step is to gather all the supplies and wear masks, gloves and other safety gear to melt silver at home. You can do this process in a well-ventilated area inside your house or outdoors.
If you own a furnace, then you can place the metal inside it or take a crucible to start with the process. Place the silver chloride in the crucible and make sure that it is big enough to hold the metal when it starts boiling. If the substance you want to melt is plentiful, then it is advised to break in parts and then start melting it. Breaking the metal into smaller pieces fastens the process of melting it with ease.
You can use a gas torch oo a blow torch to melt silver in the crucible. The time taken to melt silver depends upon the size and the composition of the substance. Also, a lot of torches do not come with the temperature gauge, so you have to monitor the process till silver starts melting. Now make the mixture of borax and soda in the proportion of 1:1. For 1 kg silver, 500gms of the mix would be sufficient to melt the silver.
Add this mixture to the crucible and keep torching the silver. You can also add sodium nitrate step by step till you see the metal. Be careful while using sodium nitrate as it is highly flammable chemical and mishandling it can cause explosions.
Let the silver melt once you see the metal layer in the crucible. And after it starts boiling, you can stop the heat and use a graphite stir rod or any other tool to get rid of the slag from the molten silver. Slag is the impurities and other metals that have melted along with silver. It is essential to remove the residues of other metal and then proceed further.
Wear your heat resistant gloves and, with the help of tongs, hold the crucible to pour the molten silver. Pour this melted metal in the molds or casts when it is in the liquid form itself. Once you have gotten rid of all the impurities, you can directly pour the silver into molds. Be careful while pouring it and ensure that the metal gets into the cast properly so that you can get the desired shape and angle.
Let the molten silver sit on the mold for a while till it sets completely. Depending upon the type of the mold and the quantity of your metal, it can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes to set. After the metal has settled in the mold, take it out with the thongs and submerge it in the water so that it cools down and hardens. This process of cooling down the metal is called quenching, and it is vital to get the metal in the desired form.
Melting silver at home can be easy if you have a furnace and molds. However, borax works well for getting the job done given to its properties of removing the oxides from the metal without affecting its purity. As the silver melts at a higher temperature, ensure that you are wearing all the safety gear and doing this process after knowing it in detail.You can also find other chemistry-related articles at the Geometry of Molecules.