Durability of noble metals in soil

#1
Hoping to tap into the collective knowledge of ARRSE here...anyone have any practical experience or theoretical knowledge on how long a gold, silver or platinum ring or coin would last when buried a few feet deep in the area around Bergen-Hohne with its sandy soil? Any ideas not completely useless gratefully received:).
 
#2
Provided the object IS made from a noble metal and not a cheap alloy..

To the end of time or found by someone with a metal detector, whichever the sooner...

(though the predicted lifespan of someone with a metal detector on Hohne is probably a lot shorter...)
 
#3
Gold will last virtually forever. Ditto Platinum.
Silver will corrode gradually. It is more easily oxidised than Au or Pt.
Corrosion rate depends on humidity and acidity of the soil. Wetter and more acid will accelerate corrosion but will last some years depending on thickness.
Hope this helps
 
#4
Hoping to tap into the collective knowledge of ARRSE here...anyone have any practical experience or theoretical knowledge on how long a gold, silver or platinum ring or coin would last when buried a few feet deep in the area around Bergen-Hohne with its sandy soil? Any ideas not completely useless gratefully received:).
As above. So long as there is a high enough noble metal in the alloy (pure gold is too soft for jewellry) then it can last for ever.
Noble metals only react with a few very nasty chemicals unlikely to be found in nature.
Though if they had been buried in a cheese possessed can who knows what would happen.
 
#5
That's an interesting question as it would depend on the alloy content as well as the gold. Gold in its natural state has survived in the Earth since the year dot but buried in sand I would imagine would depend on there being some motion in the sand which may abrade the gold ring over time and at some point may well disappear. Be good to see an explanation but I would imagine it's a "How long is a piece of string" problem.
 
#6
Hoping to tap into the collective knowledge of ARRSE here...anyone have any practical experience or theoretical knowledge on how long a gold, silver or platinum ring or coin would last when buried a few feet deep in the area around Bergen-Hohne with its sandy soil? Any ideas not completely useless gratefully received:).

You might be wasting your time, I think the Germans stripped the bodies of all things valuable before burying them.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#7
When you consider some of the historical artifacts that are pulled out of the ground from Neolithic sites, you've probably got a minimum of 2000 years to find your lost ring!
 
#8
Though if they had been buried in a cheese possessed can who knows what would happen.
Assuming there was still cheese in the can, the cheese would act as an electrolyte and set up a galvanic corrosion cell, with the can as the anode and the ring as the cathode.
 
#10
Gold will last virtually forever. Ditto Platinum.
Silver will corrode gradually. It is more easily oxidised than Au or Pt.
Corrosion rate depends on humidity and acidity of the soil. Wetter and more acid will accelerate corrosion but will last some years depending on thickness.
Hope this helps
Silver does not oxidise in air...

The black tarnish you see forming on silver is silver sulphide, almost universally caused by human burning of sulphur and sulphur compounds from fossil fuel.. Up to comparatively recent times silver did not tarnish in the air...!
 
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