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how can i make powdered zinc out of a solid piece of zinc?


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1`st of all why do you want it? I only ask as then I will know what mesh you`ll need.

personaly, depending on how big the peice of Zinc is, get it in a vice and lay white paper around it, then use a file to file it into a powder :)

if it`s still to coarse then make a ball mill and let that run over night with a handfull of glass marbles and your powder in it, that would make it quite fine and flat (increased surface area), leaving it for longer in the mill you could even acheive Pyro Grade flake :)

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Ice, you may want to have a look at the Zinc Sulphide thread as a point of interest, this is the alternative method, but as you`ll read, the product is too pure, so if you`re interested in experimenting and or doing a little research into copper doping of zinc sulphide to make nano crystals, we can try out different methods together, I don`t think it`ll be a difficult process, it just that there isn`t much info available that I can find. I have about 10 grams of the pure stuff, and it would be easy to make it by the bucket load, so if we can find a way to dope the stuff, we could have bags of "glow in the dark" powder for pocket money :)

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here ya go: http://www.scienceforums.net/forums/showthread.php?threadid=3320


the doping side of it I`m unsure of as yet, it`s something to do with having a tiny amount of an impurity molecularly bonded somehow, in this case the copper would be the impurity. how it`s actualy done I have no idea, hence the need for some research into it, but the info held in that thread will more or less bring you up to speed as to where I am in the process.

it`s very easy to do also :)


[edit] I`ve started a new thread just about "glow in the dark" materials here: http://www.scienceforums.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=44096#post44096


that way we can get this one back on topic (it`s my own fault too), and have a proper area to discuss our progress and ideas in :)


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very odd!

it could be any number of reasons really, the size of the particulates, the ratios, or maybe even insuficient heating?

I can assure you that when done properly it is quite a violent reaction! did you try direct flame? and did you have enough of it, an ounce total sould be about right, we`ve never really done it with amounts smaller than that, although I dont see any real reason why it shouldn`t work with smaller amounts if the powder is fine enough. very strange! and no it doesn`t sound silly, if it didn`t work it didn`t work :)

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  • 1 year later...
the doping side of it I`m unsure of as yet, it`s something to do with having a tiny amount of an impurity molecularly bonded somehow, in this case the copper would be the impurity. how it`s actualy done I have no idea


I think it has to be heated to a certain temperature. Although, im pretty sure silver is also helpful instead of copper. again im not fully sure but...

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Ice Phoenix, I don't know exactly what you want. It might be easier to buy zinc sulphide mail order or online if you want to use it for it's fluorescing properties. It reacts under UV light with a faint green glow, other ionizing radiation and neutrons, and electricity. It's used for green screen oscilloscopes like mine. If you just want to experience making the stuff, I can help you there, too.


A bench grinder is a noisy piece of machinery that attaches to a workbench or other fairly sturdy table at a convenient height, about waist high. It is mostly a fractional horsepower electric motor and typically has a grinding wheel on either side of it, or a grinding wheel on one side and a wire wheel on the other. Trying to produce powdered metal from that is tricky. At speed it burns most metals to ash, even iron, and material from the wheel gets into the mix. Zinc is soft enough to rub with a file and get a fairly clean powder from.


I think that the best way to make small amounts of powder, and this won't work with every metal, is to build an electrolytic cell. Make a solution of zinc sulfate and run electricity through it, pure DC. It is better if the anode is a fair sized chunk of zinc. Then the zinc is transferred through the solution from anode to cathode without changing the composition of the zinc sulfate. Electroplating is an art, and it's hard to avoid the metal simply becoming a powder when it deposits out. A powder is what you want, so that's OK. One problem is that this is a very fine powder. The finer your powder is, the more sensitive it is.


An ounce is an awful lot of flash powder. It's about five hundred fire-crackers worth, if you call fifty milligrams a fire-cracker. Once they get going, zinc and sulfur react quickly and release a lot of energy. I would mix it only in small amounts, use all sorts of protection, especially for hands, eyes, and lungs, which doesn't leave much out.


For a surface to react this on that won't contaminate the mix, steel probably won't work, glass maybe, pyrex (a sort of tempered glass) or glazed ceramic, pretty good. Sturdy dishes and plates of glazed ceramic that are pretty cheap can be found at my local Wal-Mart. They're as cheap as squares of ceramic tile and have raised rims that can prevent material from scattering.


You really can't heat the mixture through thick ceramic or glass. Direct flame might work if you can turn it down enough to keep it from blowing away the powder. A wooden match held just above the mix, using tongs, might be the best thing to touch it off with. If you have direct sunlight where you live, you can heat it with a magnifying glass. Some radiant heaters are hot enough.

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zinc becomes pulverizable at 210 celsius, so there's a thought.


you could also form an alloy of aluminum and zinc then react the aluminum away. unfortunately you'd lose considerable zinc in the process.


it's slowly attacked by H2SO4 and HCl and also reacts slowly with ammonia and acetic acid. more rapidly with HNO3.


aluminum is soluble in HCl, H2SO4, etc.


thermal decomposition of the tartarte may work

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