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Is “sandwich rolling” a feasible thickness reduction technique for 0.001 inch gold foil?


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I would like to reduce 2 inch square x 0.001 inch virgin gold foil (99.9 pure) to a thickness of about 8 microns (roughly .0003 inches). Rolling each individual gold foil between two thicker pieces of silver or rolling multiple squares at a time interleaved with a lubricated medium like Mylar are two suggestions which have been proposed. Again, these are just suggestions - if even possible. I do not want to spend thousands of dollars on a bench top rolling mill without some confidence in this technique. Hope somebody can shed some light.

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I've done a bit of work with gold foil, probably similar to your original thickness, and it is very touchy stuff to work with.  If you reduce it to less than half its original thickness it will be even more fragile and difficult to work with.  What are you planning to use it for and how large by area do the pieces need to be?  However thin you get it separating it from whatever it was pressed/rolled against will be a challenge.  The mylar may work but you may need to try other things.

Anyway, welcome aboard.  If you put your general location in your profile we will be able to give you better answers.  Because this is a world wide forum geography can have a major influence on our answers or suggestions.

You might try looking/asking on a calligraphy forum since calligraphers often use gold foil to illuminate their work.  

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Hey there George thank you for your insight! I have successfully reduced .001inch foil down to abut 8 microns via a beating mechanism using lubricated Mylar and intermittent annealing without any sticking issues. Rolling dynamics might be different though. Might be possible who knows? I updated my profile as per your request. Hopefully somebody else might chime in.

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I have looked into thermal evaporation techniques however the end result is a permanent coating which cannot be removed from the substrate without damaging the delicate foil. I need a free standing thin foil. Thank you for your insight though!

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One method of making the "sandwich" could be to press it out and then remove the "bread" from the sandwich, leaving the gold layer.  Using an appropriate solvent for a plastic which removes it, leaving the gold layer intact.

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Way to go Frosty! You hit the nail right on the head. I did some research and did in fact find soluble substrates for sputtering. The same substrates can also be used for e beam evaporation which is the system we will opt for.  But I have to say I am so tempted to buy a rolling mill and see what happens. Anyway, you guys have all been great. A big thank you to you all.

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You ARE going to stick around and show us what you're up to or do we have to get a gang together and come find out?

Lee's thought is similar if mechanical. You should try that idea too, you'll NEED that rolling mill. Hmmm? ;)

It makes most of us feel good to be helpful.

Grinning, Frosty The Lucky.

 

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My first exposure to sputtering on a soluble substrate was in an article about the special effects for "The Return of the Jedi". The model for the AT-ST that gets its head crushed by a pair of swinging logs had been molded in such a material, had a layer of some metal (aluminum? I don't remember) sputtered on to a similar thickness, and then had the substrate dissolved away. IIRC, the paragraph concluded, "The head crushed most satisfyingly."

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