How to Dissolve Gold

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A chemical mixture called Aqua Regia is potent enough to dissolve gold.
A chemical mixture called Aqua Regia is potent enough to dissolve gold. (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Aqua Regia, quite simply, is the term for the chemical component created when you combine nitric acid and maximum-concentration (38%) hydrochloric acid. This chemical -- whose name derives from the fact that it can dissolve the "noble" metals gold and platinum -- can be used to dissolve gold. Even though neither of the chemicals, on their own, has properties that can prove corrosive to metals, when combined they create a frothing, dangerous red-and-yellow mixture that will dissolve most metals.

Things You'll Need

  • Chemical beaker
  • Nitric acid
  • Maximum-concentration hydrochloric acid

Protect yourself for what is a potentially dangerous task. Safety glasses, gloves and protective clothes are an absolute must. You are creating a chemical that can dissolve most metals -- needless to say, it could do damage to your skin.

Mix concentrated nitric acid and concentrated hydrochloric acid in a ratio of 1:3, respectively. You will see an almost instantaneous reaction as the mixture reacts, bubbles and becomes and orange color.

Drop the gold into the mixture once you have successfully created the Aqua Regia. Within moments you will see the chemical attack the integrity of the gold and begin to dissolve it and soon you will have successfully dissolved one of the most hardy metals known to man.

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