Electronic scrap such as individual components or whole computers contains gold and some other precious materials. People often wonder whether it is still worthwhile to extract precious metals from old and disused electronics like mobile phones and computers. These days’ consumer electronics are handled as almost disposable items and it is not difficult to pickup several outdated and broken down machines. You may also have a few old computers, laptops, mobile phones, consoles stashed away in the garage.
The presence of precious metals
People often get surprised when they are informed that their electronic devices contain precious metals, such as gold and silver. The computer circuit board has precious material traces that are in densities which are almost the same as that of iron ore. Gold is the second best conductor of electricity. Furthermore, it is the most malleable and is highly resistant to tarnish. Moreover, it is very ductile which means it can be stretched very far before it breaks; it can be designed into micron-thin leaf. 1 ounce of gold can be stretched 50 miles. These characteristics make gold suitable for use in electronics.
Extracting gold from computers
Some people find it profitable to attempt to extract gold from computers, then refine and sell it. However, there is only a very small quantity of gold inside an old computer, thanks to its ductility. The process of extracting gold can be expensive and dangerous as a result of the corrosive chemicals required. A chemical such as sulphuric acid is often used to separate the gold from other precious metals. Sulphuric acid can burn when it comes into contact with the skin. It can also be volatile if handled incorrectly.
While there are people who seek to extract precious metals, including gold from old computers, it is not recommended. The process can be time consuming, dangerous, messy and can yield very small financial results. At the end of this all you will end up with is a pile of computer parts that need to be disposed of. This alone may cost more than the value of the extracted gold. Furthermore, if you want to ethically and legally dispose of chemicals that you have used it will certainly be a money losing endeavor.
What you will need for gold extraction
Scrap electronics, rubber apron, rubber gloves, goggles, muriatic acid, hydrogen peroxide, methyl hydrate, funnel filter, 2 large glass containers, stir stick plastic or glass, weigh scale mine, blow torch, borax, clay bowls and a measuring cup.
The role of a metal detector
If you are still interested in making money from scrap gold, it is advisable to invest in a metal detector. But you must do this with the understanding that there is very little gold that can be found in a single computer. Furthermore, it is time consuming and difficult to extract. In addition, extracting gold from PCs is dangerous. Moreover, you will be left with the PC to discard. Last but not least, the process of extracting gold from electronics is potentially damaging to the environment.