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Gold Element


Gold is a noble, precious metal, element. Its atomic number is 79 on the periodic table, and Au is its chemical symbol. This is derived from the latin word 'aurum', meaning 'shining dawn' or 'glow of sunrise.'

Metals, including gold, are typically defined as malleable or ductile. This means they can be hammered into thin sheets and drawn into wires. Metal is more technically defined in physics as a substance capable of conducting electricity at a temperature of absolute zero.

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gold periodic chemical symbol

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Gold metal is extremely scarce, with just 0.004 parts per million of the Earth's crust. This rarity is ultimately why the element gold is so valuable.

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Properties of gold
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Refined pure gold is defined as being 'noble'. Noble metals are resistant to chemical action, do not corrode, and are not easily attacked by acids. As well as gold, the other noble metals are ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, silver, osmium, iridium, and platinum. Non-noble metals are referred to as base metals.

The element gold is extremely dense, very soft (or malleable), and has high electrical conductivity. It has a melting point of 1064°C and has a density of 19.32 g/cm 3 . That is 19 times greater than water. Its density and malleability means that just one gram of gold can be beaten down to a transparent square meter sheet.

Gold also has a very high electrical conductivity of 4.1×10 7 .

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gold circuits

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Applications of gold
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Owing to its beauty, rare colour, and corrosion resistance, gold has for thousands of years been used in jewellery and decoration. Because of its extreme softness, for most practical applications, it is usually alloyed with other metals in order to add strength. For jewellery this is commonly silver, platinum or copper.

The high electrical conductivity of gold is why it is extensively used in electronics, though both copper and silver are better conductors. Despite this, gold's high resistance to corrosion makes it better for many electronic applications.

The biggest use of gold is as a pure investment asset. Gold is labelled a ‘safe haven investment’; expected to retain or even increase in value during times of market turbulence. It is an easily-traded investment, with some guaranteed future worth based on scarcity and functionality. For these reasons, the largest amounts of gold are held by governments, financial institutions, and private investors in the form of bullion coins and bars.

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gold element banner

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Gold facts
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Here are ten interesting facts about the AU element:

  1. The name Gold is derived from the old German gulþ meaning 'yellow/green.'
  2. Gold is the only metal that is yellow or 'golden.'
  3. Aurophobia is fear of gold.
  4. The Perth Mint made the largest ever coin - weighing one tonne and measuring 80 centimetres in diameter.
  5. Odourless and tasteless, gold is non-toxic and flakes may be eaten in foods or drinks.
  6. It is estimated about 160,000 tons of gold have been mined throughout history.
  7. Gold has been discovered on every continent on Earth.
  8. Today, India is the world's largest consumer of gold.
  9. The first gold coins were produced in Lydia between 700 - 650 BC. They were made from electrum, which is a naturally occurring alloy of gold.
  10. Gold has a history of holding its value. It is an ideal way of preserving wealth from one generation to another.