How to Obtain Arsenic

First documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250, Arsenic is a chemical element, having an atomic number 33 and symbol ‘As’. It is found in elemental form but it is a lot more common in minerals in conjunction with metals and sulphur. Arsenic is considered to be a pure elemental crystal, which is the reason why many people wish to obtain it. It is a metalloid and has the potential to exist in many allotropes. However, only the gray form of arsenic is importantly used for industrial purposes. China possesses the greatest arsenic reserves of the world; whereas, it can also be found in Chile, Mexico, Russia and the Philippines. There are a number of different ways to obtain arsenic, which is a highly poisonous element.

Things Required:

– Personal mining equipment


  • 1

    Mine arsenic directly

    One of the best ways to obtain arsenic is to mine the element directly. Deposits of pure arsenic, which occur naturally, are too small to be commercially mined but you can do that individually.

  • 2

    Heat orpiment with soap

    The method of obtaining arsenic through heat orpiment (As2S3) with soap was revealed vaguely by Albertus Magnus in the 13th century.

  • 3

    Reduce White Arsenic

    White arsenic (As2O3), which is also called arsenolite, can be reduced with charcoal. By heating, you will get the following reaction: 2As2O3 + 3C + heat -> 4As + 3CO2. This method of obtaining arsenic was properly elaborated by Johann Schroder in 1649. By heating arsenious oxide (As4O6) with carbon, arsenic is prepared in laboratories these days with a similar reaction.

  • 4

    Dig arsenic mines commercially

    Many commercially important minerals like realgar, arsenopyrite, orpiment and loellingite contain arsenic. It is most commonly found in arsenopyrite. In the absence of air, these minerals are heated at 700 degrees Celsius and as a result, arsenic sublimates come out of the minerals in shape of a gas.

  • 5

    Obtain arsenic as a by-product

    You can also obtain arsenic by refining other metals and as a by-product of mining. The flue dusts produced from copper, nickel and tin need to be recovered. They are extremely high in arsenides of these metals. Arsenic can be sublimated by heating them in air. You can now condense the gas back into solid form by cooling it. Most of arsenic in the world is produced by this method.

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