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Preparation of Silica:
Hahnemann directs this to be prepared as follows: Take half an ounce of mountain crystal and expose it several times to a red heat, or take pure white sand and wash it with distilled vinegar; when washed mix it with two ounces of powdered natrum, melt the whole in an iron crucible until effervescence has ceased, and the liquefied mass looks clear and smooth, which is then to be poured upon a marble plate. The limpid glass which is thus obtained is to be pulverized while warm, and to be filled in a vial, adding four times its own weight of distilled water (the vial being exactly filled to a level and a stopper being put in immediately). This mixture forms a solution which remains always clear; but upon pouring it into a open vial, which is loosely covered with paper, it becomes decomposed, and the snow white, silica separated from the natrum and falls to the bottom of the vial.
The following process, which does not differ in any essential particular from that of Hahnemann, is generally adopted: Take of silica, in powder, one part; dried carbonate of sodium, four parts. Fuse the four parts of dry sodium carbonate in a clay crucible, and gradually add to the fused mass the powdered silica; at each addition an escape of carbonic oxide takes place, so that a roomy crucible should be used.
When the carbonic oxide ceases to come off, pour the fused mass upon a clean marble slab, and while slightly warm break it in a mortar into small pieces and transfer to a wide - mouthed bottle, adding sufficient distilled water to dissolve it; the stopper is to be capped with wet bladder. The following day the solution may be diluted and rapidly filtered through cotton wool to remove particles of dirt, etc.; then add to the filtered liquid hydrochloric acid gradually in small quantities. The hydrated silica is precipitated in the form of a bulky gelatinous white precipitate, which is collected and washed with distilled water upon a square frame filter. The washing must be continued until the filtrate is without taste and no longer precipitates solutions of nitrate of silver. The precipitate, when thoroughly washed, may be advantageously dried upon a porcelain waster - bath, when it shrinks to an impalpable powder, which has neither taste nor smell.
Take halfan ounce of rock - crystal which has been comminuted by repeated heating and immersing in cold water, or clean, white sand, washed with distilled vinegar; this is mixed with two ounces of powdered natrum, melted in an iron crucible, till all effervescence is over and the liquefied mass is clear, when it is poured out on a marbleslab. The glass thus obtained, which is transparent like water, is reduced to powder while still warm and is put into a bottle, adding at least four times its weight of distilled water. If the bottle is thus filled to the top and corked immediately there is formed a solution which remains clear and transparent; but if it is poured into an open tumbler, only loosely covered with paper, it is at once decomposed, and allows all the snow - white silica to be deposted as a sediment. The causticum of the natrum (which is not yet recognized by the anti - phlogistic chemistry), during melting, combined with the atmospheric air, forming almost instantaneously the (so - called) carbonic acid which was necessary to neutralize and moderate it, so as to allow the silica to be precipitated. The transparent liquid decanted is pure, mild natron, which effervesces with all the other acids.
To lixiviate the silica, the water must be mixed with some alcohol, so that the liberated silica may be more easily settle down. Then it is freed from water on a filter of blotting - paper; this is finally laid between several sheets of dry blotting paper; and weights are laid upon it, so as to withdraw the moisture as far as possible from the silica, after which it is entirely dried in the air, or in a warm place.