The process takes advantage of two liquid-state properties of zinc. The first is that zinc is immiscible with lead, and the other is that silver is 3000 times more soluble in zinc than it is in lead. When zinc is added to liquid lead that contains silver as a contaminant, the silver preferentially migrates into the zinc. Because the zinc is immiscible in the lead it remains in a separate layer and is easily removed. The zinc-silver solution is then heated until the zinc vaporizes, leaving nearly pure silver. If gold is present in the liquid lead, it can also be removed and isolated by the same process.
- Pauling, Linus General Chemistry W.H.Freeman 1947 ed.
- "Parkes process (chemistry)". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
- Tylecote, R. F (1992). "A history of metallurgy": 158. ISBN 978-0-901462-88-6.
- Percy, John (1870). The metallurgy of lead: Including desilverisation and cupellation. p. 148.
- Office, Patent (1861). Patents for inventions. Abridgments of specifications.
- Patent Office, Great Britain (1867). Patents for inventions: Abridgments of specifications : Class.
- Patent Office, Great Britain (1861). Patents for inventions: Abridgments of specifications : Class.
- Eurich, Ernst (December 1912). Joseph Struthers, ed. "The Development of the Parkes Process in the United States". Bulletin of the American Institute of Mining Engineers. The American Institute of Mining Engineers (72): 1531–1540.
- Rowe, David John (1983-07-01). Lead Manufacturing in Britain: A History. pp. 189–190. ISBN 978-0-7099-2250-6.
- Ray Emery Wickham (1908). A Thermal Study of the Parkes Process of Lead Refining.
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