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Thread: A possible way to remove zinc from molten lead

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    A possible way to remove zinc from molten lead

    While researching the true meaning of 50:50 solder, I came upon some information describing how to make different solder mixtures. Part of the article mentioned how a very small amount of zinc will "poison" the solder and goes on to explain how to remove the zinc by fluxing with sulfur.

    Perhaps this has been brought up before but the information was new to me. There seem to be a good number of posters who have accidentally "poisoned" their wheel weight melts and if this helps clean up their alloy then I've done my good deed for the day.

    Most relevant passages:

    "From this it is clear that in making solder great care must be taken to exclude zinc from the pot. Zinc, lead, and tin do not alloy well, lead will unite with only 1.6 per cent of zinc, and above that proportion the metals are only mixed when melted, and on cooling partially separate.

    Sufficient lead having been melted in the pot, about pound of lump sulphur, broken into pieces about the size of hickory nuts, is added, and the whole well stirred with a ladle, the sulphur unites with zinc and other impurities. The resultant sulphides are skimmed off in the form of a cake, more sulphur being added so long as sulphides continue to form. The bowl of the ladle, in the intervals of stirring, should be laid on the fire, to burn off any adherent sulphur. When sulphide ceases to be formed, a handful of resin is thrown into the pot, and the lead stirred. When the resin has burned, the lead is again skimmed, and a piece of tallow about the size of a hen's egg is put into the pot, the lead being again stirred and skimmed. In stirring the lead it is lifted up and poured back by the ladleful, a larger amount of lead being thus exposed to the action of the cleaning material."

    &
    "Zinc is the greatest trouble to the solder pot. Great care has to be taken to exclude it, or to get it out. It may get into the solder from a piece of zinc, having been put into the pot by mistake for lead, but more commonly brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc, is the source of the zinc that poisons the pot, into which brass filings find their way whilst brass is being prepared for tinning. If the filing is done at the same bench as the wiping, splashes of metal may fall on the filings, which will adhere, and thus get into the pot. Solder that is poisoned by arsenic or antimony is beyond the plumber's skill to clean, but zinc can be extracted by stirring in powdered sulphur when the solder is in a semi-molten condition, and then melting the whole, when the combined sulphur and zinc will rise to the surface, and can be taken off in the form of a cake, the solder being left in good condition for use."


    Link to the whole page : http://chestofbooks.com/home-improve...ke-Solder.html

    Hope this helps some of you kind folks,

    Hugh

  2. #2
    Boolit Man
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    Thank you for that info, I've been concerned about the chances of getting the odd bit of Zinc in my melt. Getting harder and harder to get WW up hear.

  3. #3
    Anti-Socialist Texan


    geargnasher's Avatar
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    Chemists here correct me, but lead and tin also form sulfates, but maybe not just by being mixed with sulfur. IIRC from college inorganic that sulfur transfers from one metal to another, changing one into the SO4 and leaving the other as elemental metal, I remember playing with copper sulfate and tin but never lead sulfate in the lab.

    I really shouldn't care how this works if it works!

    Someone have a contaminated alloy they'd like to try this on?

    Gear
    You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something. --Stephen Adams

    To universalize one's experience and state it as the norm is always thin ice on which to stand.--CharGar

    Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff has always been a valuable skill in all of life's activities. --Bwana


  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Sciguy. Great piece of info. I've got about 3-400lbs. of WW that got a little too hot when I smelted it and I believe has some zinc in it. I can use it for large boolits if I heat it slowly and skim well, but I'd love to fix the whole batch. This solution may or may not be the holy grail, but it sounds well worth some experimentation. Thanks for the info. What a great site this is. Ron.D

  5. #5
    Boolit Master arcticbreeze's Avatar
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    I have about 80 lbs with I believe some zinc. I was going to just give it away to someone willing to try it but I will give this a try and report back.

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by arcticbreeze View Post
    I have about 80 lbs with I believe some zinc. I was going to just give it away to someone willing to try it but I will give this a try and report back.
    I'm hoping that it will. Finding the solder making site was pure accident but the method of zinc removal seems totally appropriate to our purposes.

    They use sulfur as an organic pesticide. It looks pretty cheap if bought in the 90% form mixed with bentonite clay. I'm not sure if the bentonite would hurt at all.

    Hugh
    Last edited by sciguy; 09-18-2009 at 11:55 AM. Reason: typo

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by sciguy View Post

    They use sulfur as an organic pesticide. It looks pretty cheap if bought in the 90% form mixed with bentonite clay. I'm not sure if the bentonite would hurt at all.

    Hugh
    I don't see where the bentonite clay would cause any problem, considering the fact that I have used kitty litter as a top insulator for years.

  8. #8
    Anti-Socialist Texan


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    Quote Originally Posted by rob45 View Post
    I don't see where the bentonite clay would cause any problem, considering the fact that I have used kitty litter as a top insulator for years.
    +1 Rob.

    Gear
    You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something. --Stephen Adams

    To universalize one's experience and state it as the norm is always thin ice on which to stand.--CharGar

    Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff has always been a valuable skill in all of life's activities. --Bwana


  9. #9
    Boolit Bub luke777's Avatar
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    Fantastic piece of information to have in the back pocket SCIGUY.

    I will be printing this one off and storing it in preparation for potential future battles. Fingers crossed I will never have to use it but.... You know how the old saying goes!!

    Luke
    "That's gonna need stitches"

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    Will the sulfur take out tin or antimony in an appreciable amount?

  11. #11
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcooper View Post
    Will the sulfur take out tin or antimony in an appreciable amount?
    I really don't know about the tin but the document implys that antimony will not be removed by the process. Even if all of the tin was removed from wheel weights, adding 2% more tin after "cleaning" would be pretty inexpenive compared to losing a huge batch of wheel weights that you spent so much time, effort, donuts, pizza, sweet talking to collect.

    Solder that is poisoned by arsenic or antimony is beyond the plumber's skill to clean, but zinc can be extracted by stirring in powdered sulphur when the solder is in a semi-molten condition, and then melting the whole, when the combined sulphur and zinc will rise to the surface, and can be taken off in the form of a cake, the solder being left in good condition for use."

    If this process does prove to be functional, a sticky should be created for test data, procedurural explanations, pictures.................


    Hugh

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Arsenic and antimony can be good things, depending on what you want your end results to be.
    I aim to misbehave.

    Mostly Harmless.

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominicfortune00 View Post
    Arsenic and antimony can be good things, depending on what you want your end results to be.
    As is the small amount of tin in wheel weights.

    Hugh

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    I dont think you would want to do that in the house. LOL but it will get rid of the bugs.If you use a therometer you can get most all the zinc out . the oil dry will get about 98% of the rest if you keep temp at near 700 Zinc will float at that temp keep stiring and dont use flux and most will get out

  15. #15
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominicfortune00 View Post
    Arsenic and antimony can be good things, depending on what you want your end results to be.

    I want the tin and arsenic...that's why I ask. If I have to add it later, no biggy; I just want to know if I need to.

  16. #16
    I'm A Honcho!



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    Like antimony, sulfer is also one of the elements that can be added to lead to allow it to be hardened by heat treating. There was a discussion some months back about what we would have to do if antimony becomes hard to find after WWs disappear. Sulfer can be added to pure lead by holding it submerged in molten lead. It doesn't take much.


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  17. #17

    OK - so WHERE to I get the sulfur?!?

    OK - where do you find the sulfur!?! And has anyone tried this yet? Thanx in advance.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by oscarflytyer View Post
    OK - where do you find the sulfur!?! And has anyone tried this yet? Thanx in advance.
    The process does appear to work. Follow the link below.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=63082

    Gardening stores sell 90% sulfur pretty inexpensively.

    Be carefull with the fumes, and possible moisture that may be in the sulfur.

    Hope to see more experiments soon.

    Hugh
    Last edited by sciguy; 10-01-2009 at 05:29 AM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    runfiverun's Avatar
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    sulphur will also help with the graining of the alloy,leading to a denser alloy.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Ohio Rusty's Avatar
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    Aren't road flares mostly sulphur ??? I'm sure you can still get sluphir, or flowers of sulphur.
    Ohio Rusty ><>
    "This is America !!, where many have fought and died for our right
    to celebrate our views with inflatable creatures in our yards ......."

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