Gold in Industry - Gold 101

For centuries gold has been used in jewelry, as a monetary unit, and for special decorations and ritual adornments. But gold also has great value in a variety of industrial applications as well. Currently, many researchers are focusing on how gold can be used in catalysis, nanotechnology, and biomedical applications. Gold catalysis are already being used in many environmental applications, while nanotechnology hopes to use gold for more sensitive medical diagnostic devices, as well as new disease therapies.

Gold has also been used in the creation of many of our artificial satellites and other space-related technology. Because of gold’s excellent reflecting of various forms of light, including infrared and visible, it is used as a protective coating on satellites. It has been applied to the protective face shields on astronauts’ helmets and their thermal protection suits for this reason. Another notable use of gold in space missions was when it was wrapped around the Apollo Lunar Landing Module to protect the astronauts from radiation.

Gold has military applications as well. The EB Prowler, an electronic warfare plane, uses gold in the plane’s canopy to shield the crew from the radio emissions created by the electronic warfare equipment.

Another application of gold in industry that the general public may be more aware of is gold’s use as a layer on some high-end compact discs. There have also been car manufacturers who have used gold as heat insulation in different automobile models.

Another way gold has been used is to reflect light and retain heat in apartment buildings. The windows of these buildings are covered with a thin layer of gold.

Gold can be used to give glass a reddish tint. Due to gold’s excellent ductility and malleability it an also be turned into thread for embroidery or thin sheets, which are often referred to as gold leaf.

One other non-jewelry use of gold is in photography. Toners made with gold are applied to black and white photographs to create brown or blue tones in the image. The same gold toners when used on a sepia-toned print can produce red tones in the photography.

Next: Gold in Electronics

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Back to the Gold 101

Gold was first discovered thousands of years ago in its natural state, in streams, which lead to mining all over the world. Its brilliance, natural beauty, great malleability and resistance to tarnish made it enjoyable to work with. Gold gave rise to the concept of money itself. Today gold is used for jewelry fabrication, industrial application, and medical uses, by governments and central banks and by private investors.

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