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The Metal Thallium

Thallium is a rare metal, found in small quantities in some varieties of iron and copper pyrites, and in some lithia micas. It resembles lead in appearance. Its compounds resemble the salts of the alkalies in some respects; and, in others, those of the heavy metals.

It is detected by the green colour which its salts impart to the flame. This, when examined with the spectroscope, shows only one bright green line. It is separated and estimated by dissolving in aqua regia; converting into sulphate by evaporation with sulphuric acid; separating the second group of metals with sulphuretted hydrogen in the acid solution, boiling off the excess of the gas; nearly neutralising with carbonate of soda; and precipitating the thallium with an excess of potassic iodide. On allowing the liquid to stand for some time a bright yellow precipitate of thallous iodide separates out. This is collected on a weighed filter; washed with cold water, finishing off with alcohol; dried at 100° C., and weighed. The precipitate is thallous iodide TlI, and contains 61.6 per cent. of thallium.