Out of every hundred bells they pour, 20 or 30 will fail. Our bell resonates with a beautiful tone, and it takes many seconds for the note to die out, thanks to the interplay between copper and tin.
By bombarding samples with x-rays they were able to create shadowy images of that crystal structure, but the idea that we might one day see actual atoms was beyond imagination. Our bell makers must be true masters of their craft.About three quarters of the elements are metals, and gold is one of the most standoffish. In copper, they can slide past each other easily, which makes it relatively soft and easy to dent, not right for a bell. Ralph places the form into a circular steel sleeve, then fills the space around it with a mixture of sand and epoxy, to withstand the searing heat of the hot metal. Adding tin to copper during melting changes the properties of the metal.How an atom reacts chemically depends on how willing it is to share electrons with others, and gold is not very social. So do other so-called "noble" metals: silver, platinum, palladium, osmium and iridium, all located in the same quiet neighborhood of the periodic table. The golden mud goes into a 2,000-degree induction furnace, along with a white powder called flux, chemicals that prevent the molten gold from reacting with or sticking to anything. When this company started, they used a mixture of horsehair, manure and just about anything else that would hold a shape without burning, but the goal was the same: to create a hollow shape that follows the inner and outer perimeter of the bell. The larger tin atoms restrict the movement of the copper atoms, making the material harder.The crack could have been caused by the way the atoms were arranged within the metal. If the metal is allowed to cool, flaws could develop, ruining the bell.Too much tin, and the copper atoms can't move at all. When the bronze has reached the proper temperature, 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, it's time to pour. Even though the foundry has the technology to precisely control the temperature, and Ralph and his team have decades of experience, bronze remains unpredictable. The bells have to cool for 24 hours, so it's the next day before we can find out if they'll be making music or ending up as scrap. A gleaming chrome, silver magnificent church bell ready for hanging? And now, for the moment of truth: will this bell be good enough to sing? Time to celebrate the millennia-old tradition of bronze.Using cyanide to react with the gold allows them to gradually reduce 40,000-gallon tanks of pulverized sludge to this: three trays full of mud? This is the first time an outsider has been allowed to pour gold. I'm not sure they entirely know what they are doing, but they are going to let me pour the gold into a gold bar mold. They'll have to throw it away or just let me take it home in my luggage. Once he removes the aluminum and joins the two halves, a bell-shaped space remains on the inside, ready to accept the molten bronze. That's a, that's a mixture, actually, of 80 percent copper and 20 percent tin. A blow causes the atoms to vibrate, but the tin prevents them from moving too far out of position.Tin is good for a bell, but only in the right proportion. Far from prying eyes, the ground erupts; heavy equipment moving millions of tons of earth in search of something: a secret, deep underground. I'm starting with one of humanity's first elemental loves: gold; symbol Au. Join me on my Hunt for the Elements, right now, on NOVA. They tell me that so much money flows out of this place, it's like a gold mine. It's a journey that dives deep into the metals of civilization, marvels at the mysteries of the extremely reactive, reveals hidden powers and harnesses secrets of life, from hydrogen to uranium and beyond. Every day she receives hundreds of samples of earth taken from the mine. …then pulverized to the consistency of baby powder. But two rows above gold is another metal of antiquity that looms large in our lives: copper; symbol Cu; atomic number 29—29 protons, 29 electrons. Bronze helped to spur global trade, and, once forged into tools and weapons, it played a defining role in the empires of antiquity. I'm here because they're about to cast several bells. This rock face is about a quarter mile below the surface, and, according to John Taule, it's loaded with gold, somewhere. That's where Gayle Fitzwater and the assay team come in. I think I've seen one of these machines at Starbucks. It is, perhaps, the most emotional of the elements. Tin added in small amounts to copper makes bronze, the first manmade metal alloy. This is The Verdin Company, a 170-year-old family-run business in Cincinnati, Ohio.