FAQ #1: The Gold Lab Vortex
1. Does the Gold Lab Vortex really work?
- In a word: YES. The explanation below may be complex, but the process works great for separating lighter materials from gold. The Gold Lab has perfected it, so that you can find your fine gold.
In fluid dynamics, a vortex is a region within a fluid where the flow is mostly a spinning motion about an imaginary axis, straight or curved. That motion pattern is called a vortical flow. (The original and most common plural of “vortex” is vortices, although vortexes is often used too.)
Vortices form in stirred fluids, including liquids, gases, and plasmas. Some common examples are smoke rings, the whirlpools often seen in the wake of boats and paddles, and the winds surrounding hurricanes, tornadoes and dust devils. Vortices form in the wake of airplanes and are prominent features of Jupiter’s atmosphere.
Vortices are a major component of turbulent flow. In the absence of external forces, viscous friction within the fluid tends to organize the flow into a collection of so-called irrotational vortices. Within such a vortex, the fluid’s velocity is greatest next to the imaginary axis, and decreases in inverse proportion to the distance from it. The vorticity (the curl of the fluid’s velocity) is very high in a core region surrounding the axis, and nearly zero in the rest of the vortex; while the pressure drops sharply as one approaches that region.
Once formed, vortices can move, stretch, twist, and interact in complex ways. A moving vortex carries with it some angular and linear momentum, energy, and mass. In a stationary vortex, the streamlines and pathlines are closed. In a moving or evolving vortex the streamlines and pathlines are usually spirals.
2. Where should I use the Gold Lab?
- You can use it anywhere you need it – it only requires a 12 volt battery to work. I prefer to use it at home when I bring my concentrates back from the field. This way, I can process concentrates at my leisure (when in the field I prefer to spend as much time collecting concentrates).Like any piece of equipment, if you use the Gold Lab in the field, be sure to protect it when traveling – it’s durable, but needs protection from bouncing around in the back of a pickup on unpaved roads.
3. Why should I classify my materials (concentrates)?
- If you are processing concentrates from a new location and don’t really know what size the gold will be, it’s best to size your concentrates and run them through the Gold Lab as follows;
- 12 mesh size: Although gold at -12 is readily visible, separating at this size for processing through the Gold Lab will help you determine where to spend your time. If most of you gold is at this size, your job has been simplified considerably.
- 30 mesh size: This is the first mesh size to run through the vortex bowl, and will help you determine the percentage of recoverable gold in your concentrates.
- 50 mesh size: This is the second mesh size to run through the vortex bowl. If you’re finding significant gold at this mesh size, you should generally classify your concentrates for the next step.
- 100 mesh size: This is the last size, hopper wise, that the Gold Lab is setup to process. If you are still recovering gold at this size in quantity, you should process your concentrate collection (dredge, highbanker, sluice, etc.) at the slowest / least water volumes you can. Very fine gold should be processed as slowly as you can to allow it to settle out for collection. If your concentrates are loaded with this very fine size, you know those that have been here before you were not able to recover this size and you may have hit the “Mother Lode” from a recovery standpoint.
4. Why should I clean my concentrates?
- Cleaning your concentrates to remove the silts out of them will help you see what you are processing better. The gold lab vortex process still works, but if your concentrates are “dirty” they make your processing water murky so you can’t see the action of collecting your gold.
About The Author
I’m Dave Chiara, and it was only a few years ago that I picked up a gold pan and couldn’t put it down. I happily spent my weekends dredging, processing, panning, and sluicing. I can’t imagine a better way to spend your free time – out in nature with friends and family, and coming home with real gold!