Science, Tech, Math › Science Alchemy Experiment: Turning Water Into Liquid Gold Share Flipboard Email Print nastya81/Getty Images Science Chemistry Projects & Experiments Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated March 25, 2019 Mix two clear solutions, wait, and watch the liquid turn to gold! This is a simple alchemy project or chemistry demonstration, based on early attempts to make gold from base metals. Materials Solution A 1 gram sodium arsenite50 ml water5.5 ml glacial acetic acid Prepare Solution A by stirring the sodium arsenite into the water. Mix the glacial acetic acid into this solution. Solution B 10 grams sodium thiosulfate50 ml water Prepare Solution B by stirring the sodium thiosulfate into the water. Let's Make Liquid Gold! Pour one solution into the other. The clear solution will turn gold after about 30 seconds. For dramatic effect, keep track of the time and command the solution to turn into gold. You can even use a magic word if you'd like. The Chemistry Behind How It Works There is a delayed reaction between the acid and the sodium thiosulfate to release hydrogen sulfide gas. The hydrogen sulfide reacts in turn with sodium arsenite to precipitate tiny crystals of golden arsenious sulfide, which is also known as arsenic trisulfide (As2S3) or orpiment. Both Western and Chinese alchemists experimented with orpiment to try to make gold. Although the mineral can be made to appear metallic under certain conditions, the compound does not undergo any reaction that changes either the arsenic or the sulfur into gold. Still, it's a striking demonstration!