The many uses of chemicals are not just limited to the manufacture of jewelry. They are used in everything from cement to paper. It is also widely used in the automotive industry, especially in the painting and deterioration processes involved with paint and finish.
Ammonium nitrate is one of the more common chemicals used as an oxidizing agent for paint and finishing. The compound consists of two sodium ions and one nitrogen. This material has a very low boiling point, which explains why it is often added to strengthen pigments and to fortify the solvents that are involved in the manufacture of certain paints and finishes. When used properly, this substance will not produce any fumes that are considered harmful. Ammonium nitrate itself is not toxic, but the fumes created when nitrate compounds are mixed with oxygen can be very irritating, even though the risks do not relate to health directly.
There are a wide variety of other types of chemicals that can be added to metals for patina enhancement. The most common are ferricyanide and ferric oxide. These chemicals attach to the surface of the metal, improving the grain, luster or hardness of the surface. Other chemicals can act as additives that improve the properties of metals, such as increasing ductility, resistivity, or the ability of the metal to be shaped.
Because some metals have many different chemical structures and because certain structures change over time (like the change in hardness of the nickel-zinc combination in steel) patina is created. It’s also necessary because some patina is desired for specific metals, like nickel (and bronze). When a metal is patina it becomes more reflective of its natural form. That means, for example, that copper will have a slightly different electrochemical charge than tin, and that nickel will always have a slightly higher resistance to electricity than silver or gold.
With this in mind, patina is used to add a natural patina to copper surfaces. For example, when a white pottery item is baked on an aluminum pan, the surface will become bronzed over time because of the baking soda and moisture present. The same can be said for an antique item that has been exposed to fire, salt, or sunlight over the years, which also leaves the item with a greenish or bronze patina.
So how do you restore a patina? First, the most common chemical that is used is sulfur. Sulfur, which comes from sulfur compounds, has long been used to bring metal back to life. The problem with using sulfur is that it can discolor the metal if not used properly. You’ll have to start by dipping the piece of metal into sulfur and see how it goes. If it comes out clean, that means your piece of metal is ready for patina.
Another commonly used substance in restoring patina to metals is sodium nitrate. There are two forms of sodium nitrate, solid and gas. Sodium nitrate is extremely reactive, especially when exposed to air. The gas form reacts with lighter metals, producing sodium hydroxide, or sodium oxide. You need a lot of sodium nitrate to make a steel blade sharp.
Polymers, on the other hand, are made from oil and water soluble chemicals. They usually come in sheets or micro-sheets that have a crystalline structure like soap. The chemicals, when exposed to an alkaline surface, will change into different colors like white, brown, and black. This is why many cosmetics are formulated with pigments and binders to change the color change of the skin.
The main function of the above mentioned substances is to change the color change of the metals in a very short time. It only takes about one hour for the color change to take place, but the metal ions remain in the skin. What happens is that as one hour passes by the color of the skin will gradually change from one color to another. One can even see a combination of colors at times, but it is always very rare.
Some of the most common metals that undergo this process are aluminum, copper, zinc, and silver. It is because of the high heat and pressure that this takes place that results in the patina. It is not uncommon for the patina to last for thousands of years. It is during this process that the color change occurs. After it is completely baked away, the metal will once again look like it is new.
In modern times, some people have turned to chemical bleaching as a way to restore patina. Chemical bleaches are used when the metal object in question has a color that is desired and there is no need for matching the color of the surface with the coloring agent. For example, the blue dye that is used in making acrylic artwork will not match perfectly with the wood because it is not water soluble. Acrylic art can be very beautiful, but it requires maintenance. It is recommended that you avoid direct contact with acrylic paint because it can damage your art permanently.
City Chemical LLC produces chemicals such as: Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid Tetrasodium Salt (13235-36-4), Ferric Benzoate (14534-87-3), Ferric Oleate (1120-45-2), Gold Resinate (68990-27-2), Octachlorotrisilane (13596-23-1), Palladium Resinate (68425-21-8), Pangamic Acid Sodium Salt (77700-02-8), Platinum Acetate, Platinum Resinate (68916-35-8), Potassium Metaborate (16481-66-6), Potassium Thiosulfate (10294-66-3), Retene (483-65-8), Silicon Acetate (562-90-3), Silver Arsenate (13510-44-6), Silver Difluoride (7783-95-1), Silver-2,4-Pentanedionate (15525-64-1), Triolein (122-32-7), Zinc Oleate (557-07-3), Zinc Salicylate (16283-53-0). To learn more about chemicals visit citychemical.com