Scrap gold can be found in many different CPUs and integrated circuits. Because gold is an excellent conductor and highly resistant to corrosion, manufacturers use it in contact points and transmission areas along small computer chips. It can also be used as a plating on connectors or other accessories. This gold can be removed in a variety of ways, including by electrolysis, physically peeling it off and acid baths.
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Scrap gold refers to the minute traces of gold found in many everyday objects, especially electronics. This gold is considered scrap because it can be collected and resold to various distributors who will use it again in manufacturing. While large quantities of scrap gold come from laboratories and the detritus of jewellers or goldsmiths, some can also be found in electronics when gold plating and film is used to create electronic contact points. Gold allows for a clear transmission at contact points and so is used in many types of complex circuit boards to help maintain electronic signals.
Scrap gold traces can be found in CPUs, certain electronic boards and integrated circuits used in cell phones, media plates and other handheld devices. The primary obstacle to harvesting this gold is knowing how to remove it from the electronics in a usable form. CPUs and integrated circuits can have trace amounts of gold throughout their framework, often too small to see and certainly too small to remove conventionally. In certain cases, however, the gold plating being used is easy to spot, especially when it is coating connectors or other larger parts of the circuit board. In this case, a small scraper or blade can be used to peel off the gold coating. This is time consuming, but effective, and the primary drawback is that the gold will be mixed with shavings of other metals that are peeled off alongside it. Many amateur collectors of scrap gold have gold purifiers that separate the gold from such contaminants.
One of the most effective ways to harvest scrap gold from a computer is with an electrolysis system. These systems can be purchased from vendors. They work through electrochemical stimulation of the gold particles in the integrated circuits. A charge is applied to the circuit, and it is placed in the electrolysis bay. After about half an hour, the gold will be leeched from the circuits and will have formed flakes or crust around the electrolysis plating. This produces high quality scrap gold and can be used to draw traces of gold from hard-to-reach places.
If the integrated circuit or CPU is small enough, then a more direct chemical approach can also be used to removed gold. Since gold can withstand powerful acids, certain acid mixtures can be used to dissolve away surrounding metals and separate the gold. This usually takes several steps and requires additional crushing and purifying to harvest the gold from its surroundings.
Gold is not the only metal that can be harvested from computers and similar devices. Nickel and copper are two examples of other metals that can be removed from circuit boards and sold as scrap. Gold is a more popular option primarily because of its greater value.
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