P.O.N. Seminars 1992
Copyright 1992, 1998, The Philosophers of Nature. All rights
Distillation of the Animated Mercury
Lecturers: Jean Dubuis and Patrice Malézé
Warning: Safety in Practical Alchemy please read this notice from The Philosophers of Nature
Note: Bad microphone, and sometimes no microphone on this first part.
O.K. We'll give some more information on distilling the mercury and the amalgam. Well, there's some preparation to distill the amalgam because it takes some time to heat the flask. There's several ways of doing it. This (drawing by Yves) is the first one. Different ways are necessary because the mercury or the amalgam boils at 260 C. At this temperature the Pyrex flasks are not very solid to distill like this (first way). You need a sand bath to protect the flask.
A second way of doing it (distilling) is to distill in a quartz flask that would support the temperature with no problem. It's very costly - a quartz flask. The third way of doing it is to distill with vacuum. It's the way I use personally. If you have a good apparatus the mercury boils at 180 C and there's no more problems with flasks. The vacuum pump is really cheap. You go to the garbage (rummage) and get an old fridge and take the pump out, because usually when you have a fridge that doesn't work it's usually the temperature that's broken and the pump still works. And in 1 or 2 hours with a fridge vacuum compressor we can make a device that will give you a real good vacuum. And it's very cheap.
When you're very rich like I am, you take one (100 ml distillation flask) and what's more you need to buy a hammer, because you cannot get the silver out of here (flask) so you have to break it every time. If you don't want to break the glass you mix the amalgam with sand. In the case of the mercury don't break the flask though.
You should be well equipped for these operations. Because once you've gone through the first Eagle, second, or third, you can have a control of the quality of this work. Because if you have a good distillation train you can sacrifice some of the animated mercury and you see that there is sophic gold in it. By distilling it as we spoke of yesterday. But this is approximate because it depends on a lot of things. But after the 2nd Eagle if it was well done with a month of incubation we can get 40 milligrams of residual gold. You mustn't tell because it's the first matter of the Stone.
We'll see a practical way of distilling on mercury and amalgam and if there aren't any questions on this thing then we can go ahead. First of all we'll say a little on security of this thing. Mercury fumes are very toxic, they condense here (C), for the greatest part. If they are not, then they come down this tube here (T1) tube 1 O.K.? They cannot evacuate without coming up to this height of water (B) and there's a tube that condenses at 150 C that cannot go through 50 cm of water. So here (T2) no toxic fumes can come. It may be an inconvenience of the process because these fumes allow for actual trips. (Laughs.)
(Patrice) I also work on these Eagles and what's more I am the translator, but I also work on this path O.K.? I have simplified this thing here which is - of course I still have this sand bath here which is easy and this is a can so it costs nothing. To avoid all these things (points to tubes etc.) I'm pretty lazy so I thought that maybe I'd take this cork out here to wash this tube and it's a hassle because sometimes you would break this tube. So what I did is use of course this tube here (natural distillation flask tube) around this tube (of former drawing). I put another one around O.K.? Considering what he (Jean) said about the water for the gases to come out. Note: Patrice shows an apparatus he designed to simplify the original apparatus shown.
(Jean) You must be very careful of the security of this distillation train. Note: Caution must be observed that the mercury does not solidify in the neck of the distillation flask from cooling. It's better if the neck of the flask is at a 90 degree angle to reduce this build up from occurring there. If you're very careful this distillation is not risky.
Q. What is the purpose to make the little balls? To make it come over?
A. When you do the amalgam it's like butter, the same consistency. You make little balls. They would become hard rapidly, you can put them here. Usually you can't pour them, it's a technical detail. Once the amalgam is done it takes from 1 to 3 hours after it's washed. You crush it because you can't make the little balls anymore. It becomes solid, so you have to go through that. They are putting sand here (in the flask with balls of mercury amalgam) so that they don't make a block (in the neck of the flask). Because otherwise there's a block right here. The only way to get this out is nitric acid or breaking the flask. And one more detail is the amalgam is heavy, if you drop it in this flask it's only thin glass, it breaks.
Q. How can you measure the temperature during distillation?
A. Jean draws a thermometer inside the end of the flask neck. But you don't have to have (use a thermometer). A thermocouple in a glass tube so you have a glass tube and the thermocouple. (Jean draws an electrical controlled device).
If you're smart you can have an electrically controlled unit and you're off! And then there's an electric control on the vacuum here. You put everything at 8 o'clock at 8 in the morning - go to sleep and at 11 it's done.
Q. Temperatures with and without vacuum pumps?
A. Without 360 C and with 260 - 280 C. It depends on the pump because it depends on the vacuum you've got. The fridge pump gives up to 50 mm of pressure.
Q. How much mercury should be added to the Lunar Regulus.?
A. It's not critical. It doesn't matter if you have too much. Generally you cannot draw all the energy from the Regulus. You can go to 2 to 4 times the weight of the Regulus. If you have one of Regulus you can go up to 4 in mercury in weight. That's about it.
Q. After the first Eagle the silver that's left behind, you don't use that? You make the amalgam?
A. Yes you do - you make the amalgam and do it again.
Copyright 1992, 1998, The Philosophers of Nature. All rights