[Note 8. The details of this method of precipitation of zinc are fully discussed in an article by Dakin, !Ztschr. Anal. Chem.!, 39 (1900), 273.]
Of the natural silicates, or artificial silicates such as slags and some of the cements, a comparatively few can be completely decomposed by treatment with acids, but by far the larger number require fusion with an alkaline flux to effect decomposition and solution for analysis. The procedure given below applies to silicates undecomposable by acids, of which the mineral feldspar is taken as a typical example. Modifications of the procedure, which are applicable to silicates which are completely or partially decomposable by acids, are given in the Notes on page 155.
Grind about 3 grams of the mineral in an agate mortar (Note 1) until no grittiness is to be detected, or, better, until it will entirely pass through a sieve made of fine silk bolting cloth. The sieve may be made by placing a piece of the bolting cloth over the top of a small beaker in which the ground mineral is placed, holding the cloth in place by means of a rubber band below the lip of the beaker. By inverting the beaker over clean paper and gently tapping it, the fine particles pass through the sieve, leaving the coarser particles within the beaker. These must be returned to the mortar and ground, and the process of sifting and grinding repeated until the entire sample passes through the sieve.
[Note 1: If the sample of feldspar for analysis is in the massive or crystalline form, it should be crushed in an iron mortar until the pieces are about half the size of a pea, and then transferred to a steel mortar, in which they are reduced to a coarse powder. A wooden mallet should always be used to strike the pestle of the steel mortar, and the blows should not be sharp.
It is plain that final grinding in an agate mortar must be continued until the whole of the portion of the mineral originally taken has been ground so that it will pass the bolting cloth, otherwise the sifted portion does not represent an average sample, the softer ingredients, if foreign matter is present, being first reduced to powder. For this reason it is best to start with not more than the quantity of the feldspar needed for analysis. The mineral must be thoroughly mixed after the grinding.]