Mix two clear solutions, wait, and watch the liquid turn to gold! This
is a simple alchemy project or chemistry demonstration, based on early
attempts to make gold from base metals.
Liquid Gold Materials
1 gram sodium arsenite
50 ml water
5.5 ml glacial acetic acid
Prepare Solution A by stirring the sodium arsenite into the water. Mix the glacial acetic acid into this solution.
10 grams sodium thiosulfate (photographer hypo)
50 ml water
Prepare Solution B by stirring the sodium thiosulfate into the water.
Let's Make Liquid Gold!
Pour one solution into the other. The
clear solution will turn gold after about 30 seconds. For dramatic
effect, keep track of the time and command the solution to turn into
gold. You can even use a magic word, if you like.
The Chemistry Behind How It Works
There is a delayed reaction
between the acid and the sodium thiosulfate to release hydrogen sulfide
gas. The hydrogen sulfide reacts in turn with sodium arsenite to
precipitate tiny crystals of golden arsenious sulfide, which is also
known as arsenic trisulfide (As2S3) or orpiment.
Both Western and Chinese alchemists experimented with orpiment to try to
make gold. Although the mineral can be made to appear metallic under
certain conditions, the compound does not undergo any reaction which
changes either the arsenic or the sulfur into gold. It's a striking