NILERED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NILERED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Melting and cleaning potassium in mineral oil. This footage shows part of a series of steps in a process used to clean and purify potassium that had acquired a layer of oxides. Before the stage shown here, the oxides were removed from the potassium by chemical treatment. Then the partially-cleaned potassium was placed in this beaker of mineral oil to be melted down. Here, the potassium has melted as the mineral oil was heated, forming the spherical mass being manipulated with a spatula. Some impurities have fallen to the bottom of the beaker. When cooled, the remaining solid impurities on the surface of the potassium can be scraped off. This is followed by further cleaning stages.
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