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Liver Of Sulphar break down after use?


#1

Hello All:

Does Liver of Sulphur break down after use? I put some in a glass
beaker heated it and used it and stored it sealed in the beaker and
after 5 days it is clear not yellow?

Mike Mathews


#2

It breaks down whether or not you use it, once it’s mixed with, or
exposed to, water. The solid material has to be kept dry and away
from water vapor too, or it will degrade, visible on the chunks as a
pale, pasty light greenish yellow coating instead of the original
dark orangey brown color of active liver of sulphur… Once you mix
the solution, you can extend, slightly, the shelf life by keeping it
in total darkness, and seeing that the container is fully filled,
minimizing the air space (and oxygen). But even then, it won’t last
all that long. In general, it’s best to mix only what you can use the
same day, maybe two days, and discard it when it looses it’s
activity. Once the color fades, it’s not effective.

peter


#3

Does Liver of Sulphur break down after use?

G’day; Yes. Liver of sulphur is potassium polysulphide which in the
presence of air and light breaks down to colourless potassium
sulphate.

Cheers for now,
JohnB of Mapua, Nelson NZ


#4

Liver of sulfer breaks down in what is called a double replacement
reaction. When dissolved in water it dissociates into postive
potassium ions and negative sulfide ions. A very small percentage
of water will always autoionize into positive hydrogen ions and
negative hydroxide ions.

The positive hydrogen ions find the negative sulfide ions find one
another and combine to form hydrogen sulfide, which is a gas. The gas
passes out of the water giving a rotten egg smell. As it does so, it
leaves behind the positive potassium and negative hydroxide ions.

Since only a very small percentage of water autoionizes at any given
time, the reaction is very slow…the gas must form and pass out of
the water before there is room for more water to autoionize.
However, over a period of days, the potassium sulfide solution turns
into a potassium hydroxide solution consuming the necessary amount
of water as it does so.

Howard Woods
Eagle Idaho


#5

Mike,

Liver of sulphur doesn’t last long in solution. Once it loses it’s
color the effectiveness is totally gone. Liver of sulphur will also
degrade over time in solid form so be sure to mix up only the amount
you’ll need and be sure to keep the solid chunks in an air tight
container.

Larry


#6

Hello Mike Mathews, You asked: Does Liver of Sulphur break down
after use? The answer is Yes. It’s best to mix it up in small amounts
for immediate use. You’ve learned that the solution doesn’t store
very well. It also “wears out” with ongoing use.

Check the archives for Charles Newton-Brain’s discussion on liver of
sulfur (los).

For an alternative, John Burgess posted to go to your friendly
neighbourhood garden shop and buy a little bottle of 'lime sulphur’
which they sell for treating fungus on shrubs. It is in fact, calcium
polysulphide, and has exactly the same properties as liver of
sulphur, which is potassium polysulphide and of course rotten egg.
All give off hydrogen sulphide, hence the disgusting smell. Use the
calcium salt exactly as you would ‘liver of sulphur’

I followed John’s suggestion and use the lime sulpher, diluted about
1:1 with hot water. The resulting warm solution gives me good
patinas, but you may like a more dilute solution for better control
over the process.

Judy in Kansas, where this summer has been overall the coolest in
recent memory! Excitement is high on campus with the first football
game this Sat. evening.


#7

Dear All,

I know liver of sulphur breaks down much to my dismay as I have no
way to buy it here in K.L. and as far as I understand it can’t be
shipped out of the country as it is considered a dangerous
substance. So the next problem is what can I use instead. In fact
what do jewelers who live outside the U.S. and Europe use? Or where
can I get it as the jewelry supply shop does not carry it as gold is
the prefered metal in these parts?

Thank for your help.
Sharron in sunny and hot Kuala Lumpur


#8
Liver of sulphur is potassium polysulphide which in the presence
of air and light breaks down to colourless potassium sulphate. 

You can retard the breakdown by storing the mixed Liver of Sulphur
in a dark-colored bottle. Learned that in an Andy Cooperman workshop
I believe.

Beth


#9

Dear Peter, went to a class on clasps…(in Atlanta Ga.) the bug a
boo of all jewelers… great class taught by a German by the name of
Hans Hoerstebrock, master jeweler, anyway the computor came up for
who has the best answers to a question and your name was brought up
by me and everyone jumped on it saying how great you were in your
answer to questions… just thought you would like to know…

calgang


#10

Check the archives for John Burgess’ suggestions about lime sulphur
which should be available with garden supplies.

Egg yolk can be used but I have no idea how you would prepare it for
use or how to control the results.

Pam Chott
www.songofthephoenix.com


#11

Right, silly question here, but if liver of sulphur doesn’t last
long in solution, why do so many jewelry supply places sell it in
liquid form, and in large quantities? Feeling kind of gypped, what
with that big bottle of stinky useless stuff sitting around in the
basement… I’ve since found Griffith’s Silver/Black to answer well
for all my silver oxidizing needs - great stuff, and a lot easier to
use!

Cheers,
Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com


#12
  Right, silly question here, but if liver of sulphur doesn't last
long in solution, why do so many jewelry supply places sell it in
liquid form, and in large quantities? Feeling kind of gypped, what
with that big bottle of stinky useless stuff sitting around in the
basement.. 

Most of the commercially sold silver oxidizer liquids are closely
related to liver of sulphur, but not quite the same as the liquid
one would mix up oneself from the solid chunks. While the commercial
liquids don’t have unlimited shelf life, they do last a lot longer
than what you’d mix yourself. I’ve had it last as long as two years
or more. I expect they simply choose a specific sulphide which does
not degrade the way ordinary liver of sulphur solution does. Or
perhaps they put something in to stabilize it or something. Not sure.
But that’s been my experience. Note that also, many of the silver
oxidizers one can buy as liquids will also claim to be able, perhaps
with heating and use of a steel applicator, to oxidize golds. These
are NOT plain liver of sulphur type oxidizers, though the visual
effect on silver may be the same. Then there is a class of oxidizing
solutions (Win-Ox is one such) that include HCL acid and tellurium
compounds or some such. Toxic as hell, gives a considerably blacker
(less gray or bluish) color, works very fast, lasts a long time. Use
it with care, they’re not kidding about the toxicity of that stuff

Peter


#13

In my jewelry class, we used to have out LOS go bad quickly. Since
we changed to a glass jar with a rubber gasket and a wire closure,
we’ve been able to use the same LOS over and over for a long time.

The following picture is ONLY for demonstration purposes. It was
the first picture on google that looked like what I was talking
about. I know NOTHING about the company.

http://www.villagekitchen.com/mfg/arc/luminarc/jars/triomphe/art/triomphejar.jpg

Patti


#14

Regarding the postings about liver of sulphur, I don’t remember if it
was mentioned that LOS is light sensitive and my solution is to use
the type of container that hydrogen peroxide comes in, usually a
brown opaque plastic. My LOS lasts for a few days up to a week this
way.