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College student extracts gold from scrap CPUs

By Li Qian (Shanghai Daily)

16:59, January 04, 2012

A university student successfully extracted pure gold from scrap CPUs. His feat attracted wide attention on the Internet and earned him the title of "modern alchemist."

Li Dianwu is a senior of Nankai University in Tianjin, north China with a major in chemistry. He dissolved useless CPUs in a solution of sulfuric acid, thiourea and hydrogen peroxide, and filtered the solution with activated carbon.

Then he put the metal-filled activated carbon in a muffle furnace and extracted 65 milligrams of gold at a temperature of 1,100 degrees Celsius, the Shanghai Morning Post reported today.

The three pinhead-sized beads are 99.99 percent pure gold, Li told the newspaper after he posted 20 photos of his gold extracting process on the popular social networking website,, last month. His post immediately drew more than 60,000 viewers.

Though Li's process is not poisonous, a chemical expert surnamed Ye told people not to follow his example because the method requires professional knowledge and equipment.


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