As pungent vapors are given off during fusion, the operation should be conducted under a draught hood. The activity of the mixture in attacking zircon appears from the following experiment: Two zircon crystals, each weighing 1/2 grm., were introduced into the melted mixture and subjected to prolonged heat. In a short time they decreased perceptibly in size; each of them broke up into two fragments, and within an hour they were entirely dissolved. The melted mass is poured upon a dry metal plate, and when congealed is thrown into water. It is at once intersected with a number of fissures, which facilitate pulverization. This process is the more necessary as the unbroken mass is very slowly attacked by water even on prolonged boiling. The powder is boiled in a large quantity of water so as to remove everything soluble. There is obtained a faintly alkaline solution and a sediment insoluble in water. From the filtrate alkalies throw down zirconium hydroxide, free from iron.
The portion insoluble in water is readily dissolved in hydrofluoric acid, and is converted into zircon potassium fluoride. The chief bulk of the zirconium is found in the aqueous solution in the state of double fluorides. The platinum crucible is not in the least attacked during melting. On the contrary, dirty platinum crucibles may be advantageously cleaned by melting in them a little of the above mentioned mixture.
If finely divided zircon is boiled for a long time with caustic lye, it is perceptibly attacked. It is very probable that in this manner zircon might be entirely dissolved under a pressure of 10 atmospheres.
Potassium borofluoride may be readily prepared from cryolite. Crucibles of nickel seem especially well adapted for the fusion of zircon in caustic alkalies.—Ber. Boehm. Gesell. Wissenschaft; Chem. News.
* * * * *
A PROCESS FOR MAKING WROUGHT IRON DIRECT FROM THE ORE.
[Footnote 1: A paper read at
the Cincinnati Meeting of the
American Institute of Mining Engineers, by Willard P. Ward, A.M.,
M.E., February, 1884.]
The numerous direct processes which have been patented and brought before the iron masters of the world, differ materially from that now introduced by Mr. Wilson. After a careful examination of his process, I am convinced that Mr. Wilson has succeeded in producing good blooms from iron ore, and I think that I am able to point out theoretically the chief reasons of the success of his method.
Without going deeply into the history of the metal, I may mention the well known fact that wrought iron was extensively used in almost all quarters of the globe, before pig or cast iron was ever produced. Without entering into the details of the processes by which this wrought iron was made, it suffices for my present purpose to say that they were crude, wasteful, and expensive, so that they can be employed to-day only in a very few localities favored with good and cheap ore, fuel, and labor.