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any chemistry buffs?

pow3rslave

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my dad had this bottle of stuff when i was younger, it's probably still round somewhere.
it's a clear liquid. i was always told to stay away from it and anything it touched.
the only thing i ever saw it do was if you dipped a copper coin in it, the coin went really bright chrome, like it coated it in mercury almost.
i don't think the chrome coating lasted forever, i think it went black after a bit, maybe from a couple of days to a week or so.

the bottle it was in was the old timey glass bottle with glass stopper, so no clues there. anyone know?
 

Not_An_Abba_Fan

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The only thing I can think of is sulfuric acid. The acid will turn the coin really shiny, then when exposed to air for a while it 'patinas' and turns almost black.
 

Not_An_Abba_Fan

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Zinc doesn't discolour though.
 

Philthy

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I thought sulfuric acid as well, but I'm not sure it would quite give a chrome appearance, just enhance the coppers shine a bit.

I googled sodium zincate and apparently it deposits a layer of zinc onto copper and gives a bright silver appearance, then fades to black after hours/days, so Hsvpunk might be on the right track
 

pow3rslave

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just dipped it in. i think it was only copper coins to chrome/silver. didn't ever see him do it with any other sort
 

Not_An_Abba_Fan

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We are relying on a memory though, to a kid, really shiny might equal chrome....
 

graemevb

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Hard to say without more info, the sodium zincate is a possibility, though another possibility is that the solution may have been silver nitrate.

when copper is added to aqueous silver nitrate, silver will tend to crystallise/precipitate on the surface of the copper, though it may also leave a thin shiny film which would rub off eventually.
 
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