Charcoal is used as the precipitant at Mount Morgan, Australia.
When using iron as the precipitant, it is desirable that the solution should be as neutral as possible, and the quantity of ferric salts present should be reduced to a minimum; otherwise, a certain amount of iron would be used up by the free acid and in reducing the ferric salts.
If much carbonaceous matter be present (and this is generally so when iron sponge is used as the precipitant) the crude product is heated to redness in the air; this burns out the carbon, and, at the same time, oxidizes a little of the copper, which must be subsequently reduced.
An excess of the precipitant is shown by a drop of the solution imparting a yellow colour to a solution of tannin, prepared by dissolving one part of tannin in 300 of water; drops of this solution are placed on a white porcelain plate, and as the precipitant is added to the lead solution a drop of the latter is removed from time to time on a glass stirring-rod and added to one of the drops on the porcelain plate.
The use of sodium hyposulphite as solvent, and sodium sulphide as precipitant, was proposed in 1846 by Hauch and in 1850 by Percy, and put into practice in 1858 by Patera (Patera process); calcium hyposulphite with calcium polysulphide was first used by Kiss in 1860 (Kiss process, now obsolete); sodium hyposulphite with calcium polysulphide was adopted about 1880 by 0.
Alcohol also throws down the salt from aqueous solution, the composition of the precipitate varying with the amount of salt and precipitant employed.
But the most delicate precipitant for lead is sulphuretted hydrogen, which produces a black precipitate of lead sulphide, insoluble in cold dilute nitric acid, less so in cold hydrochloric, and easily decomposed by hot hydrochloric acid with formation of the characteristic chloride.