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Electroporating in Antiquity

  1. Jun 25, 2008 #1
    Re: Zink chlorid electroplating?

    Please excuse me if I'm in the wrong place. I'm not a student really, but am a senior looking into things I didn't get to study when young!!

    I admit, I'm looking for a few answers that will help me with something else I am researching.

    I have read that the ancient Egyptians or perhaps it was Sumerians, knew how to electroplate with gold. Now I realize an electric current is needed, but is it absolutely necessary, or is there any other way at all that it could be done?

    I am thinking of the shields that were coated with "quicksilver" in ancient times so to be used for flashing messages. I have read a bit about mining cinnebar and the mercury extraction, played with a little ball of mercury by brother boosted from the science lab, and can't figure out how the constantly, quick rolling ball of liquid could be applied to a smooth surface, like mirrors and become a solid coating.

    I'd appreciate any help you can give me.
    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2008 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Zink chlorid electroplating?

    Most likely it will be better to start a new thread with your questions, colud be one of the Mentors will split the thread.

    You don't need to run current for electroplating to occur, if both metals differ in electroactivity enough one will get dissolved while the second will deposit ion th esurface. If you have copper sulfate at hand dissolve a little in water (so that it is blue) ant put an iron nail in it. I can't remember if this ancient electroplating thing is backed up with solid proofs or just a speculation.

    "Mercury" mirrors were coated with mercury-tin amalgam. That's a solid alloy.
  4. Jun 25, 2008 #3
    So instead of electricity one needs a chemical of some kind? What exactly is copper sulfate and what does it do in water? (Back to grade 1 for me!)
  5. Jun 25, 2008 #4
    Oh - forgot this - how does one amalgamate mercury and tin?
  6. Jun 26, 2008 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    Just mix mercury with powdered tin. Tin dissolves and the mixture gets more and more thick, till it solidifies.
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