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What Is Gold Used For

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Applications Of Gold In The Electronics Industry

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Gold is widely used in the electronics industry for the fabrication of electrical connectors that are resistant to corrosion. These electrical connectors are known to be employed in many electrical devices such as computers. It is interesting to note that an average smartphone is known to contain approximately 50 milligrams of gold. It can also be noted that gold is often employed as a coating in the connectors that are used in many important forms of wiring, such as USB cords, video cables, and audio cables.

Owing to its resistance to corrosion, gold is also ideal for use in electrical contacts. Gold is a good conductor of heat, non-toxic in nature, and one of the most ductile metals known to man. Therefore, switch contacts are usually made up of gold. Furthermore, semiconductor devices are often connected to their packages via extremely fine gold wires. The process of employing fine wires of gold to connect devices is commonly known as wire bonding.

Naturally Occurring Stable Nuclides

As noted, these number about 252. For a list, see the article . For a complete list noting which of the “stable” 252 nuclides may be in some respect unstable, see and . These questions do not impact the question of whether a nuclide is primordial, since all “nearly stable” nuclides, with half-lives longer than the age of the universe, are also primordial.

Gold Bars And Coins For Investment

Private ownership of gold has benefitted investment portfolios for decades. For instance, in the wake of the Great Depression, many people distrusted banks and sought to keep their money as tangible assets that they could lock away or hide under their mattresses.

The FDIC protects bank deposits in the United States against bank runs, but even cash deposits in bank accounts are vulnerable to inflation.

In the early 2020s, as inflationary pressures and commodity shortages continue to force prices higher in the global economy, people are often reluctant to leave their money in bank accounts. Still, they do not trust stocks or cryptocurrencies either.

Durability and malleability prove to be essential features for many uses of gold, including its use as an investment vehicle.

Its resistance to rusting and tarnishing means that you do not need to protect it from the environment as much as you would a less valuable metal like silver or copper. The malleability makes it easier to mark the gold with its purity and provenance.

Investors often buy physical gold coins and bars. Although they must be physically stored and protected, unlike stocks and mutual funds, investing in physical gold has its advantages, including the following:

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In Search Of A Metal To Worship

Our ancestors were faced with coming up with a method of exchange that was easier to implement than a barter system. A coin is one such medium of exchange. Of all the metals in the periodic table of elements, gold is the logical choice. We can rule out elements other than metals because a gaseous or liquid currency is not very practical from the standpoint of personal portability. This leaves metals like iron, copper, lead, silver, gold, palladium, platinum, and aluminum.

Iron, Lead, Copper, and Aluminum. These metals are prone to corrode over time so they would not be a good value in terms of storage, which is required of coins and keeping the metals from corroding is labor-intensive. Aluminum feels very light and unsubstantialnot ideal for a coin-metal that could invoke feelings of security and value.

The “Noble Metals.” Platinum or palladium are reasonable choices because they are mostly non-reactive to other elementsthat is, produce little corrosionbut they are too rare to generate enough coins to circulate. To assign value to a metal, it must be somewhat rareso that not everyone is producing coinsbut available enough so that a reasonable number of coins can be created for commerce.

Gold and Silver. Gold doesn’t corrode and can be melted over a flame, making it easy to work with and stamp as a coin. Silver and gold are beautiful metals that are easy to form into jewelry, and both of these precious metals have their own devotees in fine-jewelry circles.

What Is Gold Used For Besides Jewelry

6 Unusual Uses for Gold

Have you ever asked yourself a question, what is gold used for in everyday life? Gold since ancient times has ensured the function of an element of the world financial system. Products from gold and ingots today serve as the most important objects for investing money.

The use of gold is not limited to investment. In the modern world, gold has found wide application in various industries. This noble metal is used in jewelry plants for making jewelry, in crowns and dentures, electrical contacts, also gold is contained in some medicines.

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Gold For Medals And Statues

A gold medal is synonymous with the highest level of achievement. There is no better way to recognize and commemorate milestones in athletics, scholarship, arts, and other competitive endeavors than a gold award.

While many awards might be gold-plated, solid gold or gold alloy is ideal for truly noteworthy accomplishments that do not tarnish with time.

Gold also symbolizes luxury and elite status. Gold appears on the uniforms for staff at upscale establishments, insignia on military uniforms, and the fashion accessories of celebrities and entrepreneurs looking to show off their success.

Gold represents the epitome of conspicuous consumption all over the world.

Uses Of Gold In Glassmaking

Gold has many uses in the production of glass. The most basic use in glassmaking is that of a pigment. A small amount of gold, if suspended in the glass when it is annealed, will produce a rich ruby color.

Gold is also used when making specialty glass for climate-controlled buildings and cases. A small amount of gold dispersed within the glass or coated onto the glass surface will reflect solar radiation outward, helping the buildings stay cool in the summer, and reflect internal heat inward, helping them stay warm in winter.

The visor on the helmet of an astronaut’s space suit is coated with a very thin film of gold. This thin film reflects much of the very intense solar radiation of space, protecting the astronaut’s eyes and skin.

Gold church dome: Gold dome of a church. Image copyright iStockphoto / Constantine Vishnevsky.

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What Has Gold Been Used For In The Past

So, what is gold and what is it used for in ancient time? Gold is soft and yellow noble metal not interacting with most acids and consisting of a stable isotope. Gold was known to mankind since the very old times.

A number of archaeological excavations relating to the earliest periods of history, such as the excavation of some of the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs of the first dynasties, found a considerable number of objects, sometimes very large, what was gold used for.

In those ancient times, gold was mined in the most primitive way and, of course, only from the richest and most accessible deposits. Such deposits, which were developed in ancient times, were known in various locations in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Gold As: Coinage Bullion Backing

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Because gold is highly valued and in very limited supply, it has long been used as a medium of exchange or money. The first known use of gold in transactions dates back over 6000 years. Early transactions were done using pieces of gold or pieces of silver. The rarity, usefulness, and desirability of gold make it a substance of long-term value. Gold works well for this purpose because it has a high value, and it is durable, portable, and easily divisible.

2019 Gold Production
Other Countries 800
The values above are estimated gold production in metric tons. Data from USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries.

Some early printings of paper money were backed by gold held in safekeeping for every unit of money that was placed in circulation. The United States once used a “gold standard” and maintained a stockpile of gold to back every paper dollar in circulation.

Under this gold standard, any person could present paper currency to the government and demand in exchange an equal value of gold. The gold standard was once used by many nations, but it eventually became too cumbersome and is no longer used by any nation.

The gold used as a financial backing for currency was most often held in the form of gold bars, also known as “gold bullion.” The use of gold bars kept manufacturing costs to a minimum and allowed convenient handling and storage. Today many governments, individuals, and institutions hold investments of gold in the convenient form of bullion.

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Gold Alloys For Currency

Many nations around the world mint gold coins. The coins have artistic value and often depict national symbols. However, the amount of gold they contain typically determines their value as a gold investment.

If the coin is in pristine condition, has a minting error, or is remarkable in some other way, collectors might pay a higher price for it.

Why Has Gold Always Had Value

Some people argue that gold has no intrinsic value, that it is a barbaric relic which no longer holds the monetary qualities of the past. They contend that in a modern economic environment, paper currency is the money of choice that gold’s only worth is as a material to make jewelry.

At the other end of the spectrum are those that assert that gold is an asset with various intrinsic qualities that make it unique and necessary for investors to hold in their portfolios. They believe that investors have as many reasons for investing in gold as they do vehicles to make those investments.

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Gold In The Medicinal Industry

Golds medical applications are too extensive to be listed here, but some common uses include:

Medical diagnoses

Gold can be tracked as it passes through the human body for screening, investigation and diagnosis of cancer cells.

Medical drugs

Gold nanoparticles in some pills are known to battle stomach ulcers and chronic arthritis.

Cancer treatment

Gold particles are injected into tissues to help serve as a radiation source in chemotherapy treatment.

Medical tools

Gold is a biometal and is commonly used in surgical instruments and life support devices.

Environmental Effects Of Gold

What are some common uses of gold?

Gold has not been evaluated for its ecotoxicity. However, the biodegradation of gold under aerobic conditions is expected to be very poor and there is no evidence to suggest it creates ecological problems when released into the environment. Since gold is insoluble, it is believed to have minimal bioaccumulation and bioavailability characteristics.

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Naturally Occurring Nuclides That Are Not Primordial

Some unstable isotopes which occur naturally are not primordial, as they must be constantly regenerated. This occurs by , or by such processes as geonuclear transmutation . Other examples of common naturally occurring but non-primordial nuclides are isotopes of , , and , which are all daughters of uranium decay and are found in uranium ores. The stable isotope 40Ar is actually more common as a radiogenic nuclide than as a primordial nuclide, forming almost 1% of the earth’s , which is regenerated by the of the extremely long-lived radioactive primordial isotope , whose half-life is on the order of a billion years and thus has been generating argon since early in the Earth’s existence.

A similar radiogenic series is derived from the long-lived radioactive primordial nuclide . These nuclides are described as geogenic, meaning that they are decay or fission products of uranium or other actinides in subsurface rocks. All such nuclides have shorter half-lives than their parent radioactive primordial nuclides. Some other geogenic nuclides do not occur in the of 232Th, 235U, or 238U but can still fleetingly occur naturally as products of the of one of these three long-lived nuclides, such as , which makes up about 1014 of all natural .

Awards Displaying Wealth And Status Symbols

People display wealth in many different forms: clothes, accessories, and especially jewelry. And no jewelry is more eye-catching than the lustrous yellow of gold. Different cultures from all over the world have gold in the highest esteem when it comes to jewelry. In India, for example, wearing gold jewelry attracts wealth and blessings. Gold is luxurious. People who wear it are considered superior by many. If we look back to the monarchies and empires, the reigning figure would wear crowns and jewelry made of gold. The clergy also of great importance and prestige for many years have used gold in a variety of religious objects, art, and buildings. Symbols, crosses, and also communion ware was made of silver and gold alloys because they are associated with purity and other positive characteristics.

The status brought by gold is also seen in awards for sports and arts. The first place in any sport in the Olympic Games is awarded a gold medal. In the film industry, the Academy Awards Oscars are given to the cream of the crop. In music, we have the Grammys which are gold.

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Even in gastronomy, the use of gold has become a symbol of status. Foils that are millionths of an inch thick are used in both food and drinks there is only one catch: for the gold to be considered edible, it needs to be pure or at least 22 karat gold and silver alloy, which is also chemically inert.

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Collateral For A Loan

In some countries, like India for example, gold is considered very precious and can be used as collateral against loans. As we move towards a more digitised financial system, tangible assets such as gold or silver are likely to become more important and using gold as collateral could become more commonplace.

List Of 34 Radioactive Primordial Nuclides And Measured Half

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These 34 primordial nuclides represent radioisotopes of 28 distinct chemical elements . The radionuclides are listed in order of stability, with the longest half-life beginning the list. These radionuclides in many cases are so nearly stable that they compete for abundance with stable isotopes of their respective elements. For three chemical elements, , , and , a very long-lived radioactive primordial nuclide is found in greater abundance than a stable nuclide.

The longest-lived radionuclide, 128Te, has a half-life of 2.2×1024 years, which is 160 trillion times the . Only four of these 34 nuclides have half-lives shorter than, or equal to, the age of the universe. Most of the remaining 30 have half-lives much longer. The shortest-lived primordial isotope, 235U, has a half-life of 703.8 million years, about one sixth of the age of the Earth and the . Many of these nuclides decay by , although some like 209Bi decay by other methods such as .

At the end of the list, two more nuclides have been added: 244Pu and 146Sm. They have not been confirmed as primordial, but their half-lives are long enough that minute quantities should persist today.


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Jewelry: The Primary Use Of Gold

Gold has been used to make ornamental objects and jewelry for thousands of years. Gold nuggets found in a stream are very easy to work and were probably one of the first metals used by humans. Today, most of the gold that is newly mined or recycled is used in the manufacture of jewelry. About 78% of the gold consumed each year is used in the manufacture of jewelry.

Special properties of gold make it perfect for manufacturing jewelry. These include: very high luster desirable yellow color tarnish resistance ability to be drawn into wires, hammered into sheets, or cast into shapes. These are all properties of an attractive metal that is easily worked into beautiful objects. Another extremely important factor that demands the use of gold as a jewelry metal is tradition. Important objects are expected to be made from gold.

Pure gold is too soft to stand up to the stresses applied to many jewelry items. Craftsmen learned that alloying gold with other metals such as copper, silver, and platinum would increase its durability. Since then most gold used to make jewelry is an alloy of gold with one or more other metals.

Alloying gold with other metals changes the color of the finished products . An alloy of 75% gold, 16% silver and 9% copper yields yellow gold. White gold is an alloy of 75% gold, 4% silver, 4% copper and 17% palladium. Other alloys yield pink, green, peach and even black-colored metals.

Gold Alloys For Dentistry And Medicine

Dental fillings

Currency and ornamentation arent the only uses of gold. Many people choose gold fillings for their teeth, although they can use other materials. Gold does not match the color of natural teeth as well as porcelain and ceramic, but individuals might choose gold for fillings and false teeth.

  • They represent wealth.
  • They are durable and resist corrosion.
  • They do not contain mercury.
  • Gold false teeth could complement gold jewelry and other fashion accessories.

Surgical Instruments

Some surgical instruments and metal parts for medical devices contain gold plating to prevent corrosion.

In addition to golds general advantages in the construction of electronic devices, gold plating allows for other benefits specific to medicine, such as

  • The ability to block x-rays, allowing implants to show up against a background of soft tissue
  • The ability to conduct heat well to start at average body temperature
  • A resistance to rejection by body tissues because gold is inert

Advanced prostheses and implants are becoming more prevalent in medicine, further increasing the need for a supply of gold.

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