The Many Uses of Gold

This article discusses how many applications there are for gold. I think a lot of people would be surprised to learn just how many things in their life are affected by the application of gold. Electronic devices are probably the heaviest users of gold because a lot of the components in their microchips and wiring are produced from gold. Gold is also used in fillings for teeth and even in medicine. Surprisingly enough, radioactive isotopes of gold are used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Gold, because of its density, is used as a “weight” in eyelids for people who have a disease that prevents the eyelids from closing all the way. The uses of Earth are not even limited to the reaches of Earth; they are also used in the depths of space because of its reliability. Gold is an excellent conductor so it can perform electronic tasks that other conductors would not be able to perform in space. But its incredible conductivity is not the only reason it is used in space. Normal lubricants used here on Earth would be broken down by the intense radiation in space. So, as a substitute, they coat moving parts with very thin sheets of gold that allow the molecules to slide past each other and act like a lubricant. The reason the gold is able to coat the parts so thinly is that gold is incredibly malleable, meaning it can be flattened and flattened easily. One piece of gold the size of a golf ball can be flattened into a sheet that is the size of two tennis courts. This means that the sheet can be only several molecules thick and still have the characteristics of gold.  Even further, gold coats most of the darker materials used on space equipment because it is able to reflect the radiation and heat that they would otherwise absorb. Without the gold, those components would likely overheat. Back on Earth, gold has long been used as a symbol of status. Whether it is a huge gold chain on your favorite actress or actor, or a gold metal hanging from an Olympic athlete, the possession of gold signifies accomplishment. Gold can also be used in our current fascination with the “greening” of the world. Gold can be suspended in glass or used as a coated on glass in order to be a reflective surface for the radiation of the sun. This reflection helps keep eco-buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Because of gold’s efficiency, it is also vital in the search for alternative power production and fuel.  Gold has a very strong place in several of the world most popular fields. It is predicted that gold’s presence in our everyday lives is just going to increase in the future.

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2 Responses to The Many Uses of Gold

  1. alexmckinzie says:

    Wow, I never would have thought that gold could be used in so many different ways. I am sure that there are a lot more way other than these too. I thought that it is really fascinating that your can flatten a golf ball size peice of gold to the size of two tennis courts. And gold used as an eyelid weight is crazy.

  2. emilyhartman says:

    I agree with Alex about the eyelid weights, I didn’t even realize that there were such things as weights for your eyelids. I also have a hard time comprehending how something can be just a few molecules thick, it’s amazing, just really hard to imagine.

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