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Thread: Zinc Removal with Sulfur Report

  1. #61
    Boolit Master hunter64's Avatar
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    No one has mentioned the fact that when Sulfur is burning it stinks to high heaven. First time I did the sulfur treatment for zinc removal years ago I did it in my backyard and the neighbor thought there was a huge Natural Gas leak somewhere. They don't smell at all the same but to the uninformed they smell exactly the same so be careful where the process is done, you might get some unhappy gas company employee's breathing down your throat.
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
    Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. -Benjamin Franklin, 1759

  2. #62
    Boolit Master Fixxah's Avatar
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    Those boolits look sweet. How did you know there was Zinc in the mix? Poor boolit fillout?
    My apologies if I missed the explanation, I skipped to reply.
    Lighten up, life is too short.

  3. #63
    Boolit Buddy
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    sulphur toxicity

    Burning sulphur produces sulphur dioxide, which is used to kill bugs and to sterilize dried fruits. When it combines with wter it forms sulphurOUS acid, which is not as strong as sulphurIC acid. If you get a good blast of the fumes your throat and/or lungs may become very inflamed . Throat could swell shut in minutes and lungs can fill with fluid. So do your processing in a very well ventilated area. The suggestion of a respirator is a very good one.

  4. #64
    Boolit Master xfoxofshogo's Avatar
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    i have tride this and found you lose lead too but if you take the slag and re het it at lead temp after braking it up in a pot you can melt that lead back out and if you think its has to much zinc in it take it to the scrap and sell i melt all my zink down too and take it to the scrap thay pay a nuff for it here to wher my lead ww are all most free not i do not sulfer the zinc i know is all zin for thers nuthing left win your done but you can make some cool look rocks that sparkle lol

  5. #65
    Boolit Master xfoxofshogo's Avatar
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    o scrap the steel too the price is up right now 1000 lb is like 130 buck here

  6. #66
    Boolit Master
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    Zinc removal assay...

    I take it that no one ever followed up with a rotometals assay to characterize the elemental depletion in the alloy from a identified starting point?

    Any conclusions on this re the fire and sulphurous acid hazard? Are they reasonable with proper precaution or is this meritless as compared to just diluting the contaminated alloy?

  7. #67
    Boolit Man
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    Ill second that this method works. Had some lead alloy of questionable origin, fizzed when I acid tested. Went to the hardware store and bought some sulfur, it was mixed 50/50 with gypsum. dumped about a cup into the melt, held my breath, stirred like hell, and stepped away for a couple minutes. You do not want to be ANYWHERE NEAR the fumes from that ****. Its miserable. Went back, stirred again, stepped away. After about 5 minutes, no more funky smoke, and clunky chunks I could scoop out. Now alloy doesn't test for acid, so all turned out well!

  8. #68
    Boolit Man
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    Did any one figure out what Zinc does to a lead alloy.I used to use Linotype to cast 500 grain 45 cal bullets and i would buy the lino in type form from a guy .One day he melted all he had together and i bought it in ingot form .When i cast with that new batch of ingots the bullets would come out of the mold with a shrunken spot on one side and would actually bend as they cooled . I was told by a type setter that they use spacers made of zinc between the type letter so that guy melted all those spacers in with the good lino and ruined it . Arnie

  9. #69
    Boolit Master
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    Anyone have any idea as to how much zinc it takes to cause problems?

    If I have 40 pounds of wheel weight lead melted in a pot, and 5-10 zinc wheel weights,or 4-5Zinc Wheel weights, or 1-3 zinc wheel weights? What is enough Zinc to create problems?

    thanks guys for your input!
    Straight shootin!

  10. #70
    Boolit Master
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    depends on how much zinc is in your good lead .. usually 1-3 wont hurt but i would be comfortable if i missed only 1 ,.... 2-3 i will be stressing out
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  11. #71
    Boolit Mold
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    When to stop process

    I gave it a try this weekend. I had 100# of very "contaminated" lead. It seems to have worked, but the real problem for this amateur was recognizing when to stop the process.
    After repeated fluxing with sulfur, there seemed to be a change in the quality of the slag. It became more a fine powder and the creation of the hard sulfate slowed. I had significantly reduced the weight of the pot and I was thinking that I my be removing tin or antimony or even binding with lead at that point.
    I don't know if the change in consistency was the result of the temp of the pot, the reduction of zinc, or some other factor, but I stopped at that point. I have yet to cast boolits from the lead, but in did seem to fill the ingot mold without the anomalies that I was getting. The hardness of the lead was known before, I'll be checking the hardness of the lead after. I'll post the results if anyone is interested.
    How did you recognize when to stop? Did you see a change in the properties of the slag?
    I would not expect acid to be a good test because there would alway be a trace (1.6%) zinc remaining.
    Thanks for a great post.

  12. #72
    Boolit Bub
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    I (along with others I assume) are interested in the hardness before and after if you get a chance

  13. #73
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Reading on HT hardening of arsenic and sulfur, they seem to have similar capability and sulfur is easier to come by. Anyone have any data on it? Don't want to make PbSo4 or So3. So2 isn't too bad, SO3 is NASTY.

  14. #74
    Anti-Socialist Texan


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    Popper, sulfur is a grain refiner like arsenic, and will improve the casting qualities of any lead alloy.

    I too am interested to know about the formation of lead/sulfur compounds when doing this. Thos had a good point in post #71 regarding when to stop. I'm under the impression that zinc is far more reactive with the sulfur than lead, tin, or antimony, so it will react first, but at a point when the zinc is mostly gone, will continuing to add sulfur create other compounds? My chemistry knowledge is limited out here.

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  15. #75
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Sulfur mixed with lead is a grain refiner, mixes with the antimony and if you do it right, is better than arsenic for a HT hardener. I'm thinking it needs to be combined with the fluxing to reduce the creation of SO? products. Under the right conditions, it combines with Pb to get various PbSo? compounds. I don't find anything saying it combines much with Sn. Most of my reading on the subject is related to smelting lead ore. Has some phase diagrams which relate to quenching process(hardness) and the end products after quenching. I'm guessing , but I think the powder after the zinc is removed is PbSo4, hard but granular, not chunky.

  16. #76
    Boolit Buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by arcticbreeze View Post
    The stick ons are most likely pure lead. Squeeze them with a pair of side cutters and you will know right away.
    I've found quite a few "stick-ons" that are zinc. I believe all were marked as such with Zn.

  17. #77
    Boolit Bub
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    Another great post! I'll be heading to the hardware store for sulfer tomorrow morning!
    Be strong, and show yourself a man.

  18. #78
    Boolit Mold
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    that is neat

  19. #79
    Boolit Master

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    I have about 7 or 8 pounds of zinc-contaminated lead. I can't throw anything away, so it sat there on my casting bench mocking me. A few months ago, I melted it down and cast a bunch of little ingots that weigh about 3 ounces. I've been adding one to a 20# batch of medium-soft lead (range scrap) and stirring it in when I cast wadcutters, and run the furnace hot. I get just a little bit of "oatmeal" floating on top, but I just leave it there. Some of it harmlessly oxidizes away, but most just eventually dissolves after I add a few more ingots of good lead. It casts just fine. I've used up several pounds so far.

    "The solution to pollution is dilution!"

  20. #80
    Boolit Bub Dumasron's Avatar
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    I can't see any pics. Is there a link?
    Does zinc cause a purple, foamy dross on the lead when melted and
    a gold color on the ingot?
    Thanks
    Ron

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check