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Chemical Dependency
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Every jeweler has chemical dependency issues. Whether they have drug problems is another topic, but they all depend on a handful of helpful chemicals. (Other industries find solutions here as well since precious metals are within the first group of elements "known" to man. We learned metallurgy from these elements.)

Simple chemicals are found in every grocery and big box store. They include sugar, salt, baking soda, borax, ammonia, citric acid, pickling solution, white vinegar, bleach, etc. Or not, since some will be too impure for best results.

Maybe a pharmacy is needed for TSP and various alcohols. Head to the hardware store to pick up the other alcohols, acetone, mineral spirits, paint thinner, oxalic acid, boric acid, sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, oils and lubricants, and waxes and sealants.

 
Simple ones are found in every grocery, big box, and most convenience stores.
 
Specialty items include the family of fluxes and firescale/firestain inhibitors, myriad pickling and plating solutions, and a plethora of cleaners. Testing solutions are needed for each metal, and sometimes as specific as the purity in question. For refining there is another round of powders and liquids specific to what's being refined and what particular step in that process.

The chemical supply house might be called upon to provide concentrated and purfied acids. Perhaps some nitrates, chlorides, metabi- this, hypo- that to round out the collection. Applying patinas, oxidation, and colors can expand a chemical library something fierce!

Gases are chemicals in their own right so add hydrogen, propane, butane, acetylene, or whatever your poison is for creating a flame. There are more but they will all require an oxygen source, too, and maybe auxiliary goodies based on the application. Welding can use nitrogen, argon, helium, carbon dioxide, air, or any mixture of these. And don't forget about nitrous oxide for those stubborn problems....

Solders and other additives include the elements zinc, copper, nickel, tin, germanium, silicon, and all precious metals. Cadmium has fallen out of favor but some of the older stuff used more than an appreciable amount. It is toxic enough that some refineries won't accept scrap metals with any cadmium content!

Chemistry ensures new discoveries (and purchases) when working with metals.


Posted by M: January 7, 2023


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