10 Characteristics of Gold

The Periodic Table is made up of 118 chemical elements, one of which is gold. It is classified as a transition metal, located in the IB family (group 11) of the Table and represented by the symbol Au. Elements such as silver and copper, considered noble metals, for example, belong to the same family.

Characteristics

  • Au has an atomic number (number of protons and electrons) of 79 and an atomic mass of 197 u. Overall, it was one of the first elements discovered by humanity, around 2600 BC
  • In ancient times, for example, the Egyptians used Au in the construction of the pharaohs’ sarcophagi and other artifacts. Au is found in nature, but few regions of the world have this noble metal.
  • Gold was one of the first metals used by humanity. It is not known for sure who discovered the chemical element, since its use was present in the constructions of several peoples, such as the Egyptians.
  • Already in ancient times, gold was one of the most desired metals, especially because it was the raw material for jewelry and coins, for example.
  • At room temperature, gold is solid and bright yellow. One of the main characteristics of this noble metal is its resistance to corrosion, that is, to the oxidation process.
  • It can also be found in metamorphic rocks and in some types of minerals.
  • In addition, it is found in nature in the form of grains or seeds. However, it is not an abundant metal.
  • Gold is dense, with a strong luster, and is quite malleable.
  • It does not react with other chemical elements except chlorine and bromine.
  • Another characteristic is its good electrical conductivity, in addition to being resistant to oxidation.

In addition, gold also has the following characteristics:

  • Among metals, gold is the noblest
  • Under terrestrial conditions the metal is inert.
  • It is not abundant in nature
  • a mixture of concentrated nitric acid and hydrochloric acid is needed , for example, in aqua regia.
  • The melting point of gold is 1064 ºC
  • The boiling point is 2856 ºC
  • Among the noble metals, gold is the most malleable
  • Conducts electricity and heat well

In addition, it is known as native gold when it is found 100% pure, being malleable and used in the manufacture of jewelry, valuable objects, etc.

To make rings, necklaces and watches, for example, it is necessary to mix gold with other elements, such as silver (Ag) and copper (Cu), thus forming a metal alloy. Gold is classified as a noble metal for its resistance to corrosion, that is, oxidation.

Origin of gold

The origin of gold, that is, who discovered it, is not the subject of consensus among chemists. This is because the noble metal, due to its malleability, was the first metal used by humanity, about 6 thousand years ago.

In the biblical records, for example, it can be identified that whoever owned objects made of gold was considered noble, since gold was a symbol of wealth.

In Egyptian hieroglyphs, the presence of the noble metal was also constant. Furthermore, the Egyptians used gold to build the tombs of the pharaohs since 4,000 BC. Therefore, the discovery of gold is considered a milestone for various groups and at different times in history.

In the Middle Ages, the civilizations that lived where Austria and Saxony are today used gold to make valuable objects. They even created a movement that sought to transform common metals into noble metals. The movement became known as Alchemy.

Later, around the 11th century, gold was already used in various parts of the world to make coins for trade. On the American continent, until a certain point, the exploitation of gold was also advantageous. The Incas and Aztecs, for example, had reserves of gold and silver.

Use of gold

Gold is widely used in the manufacture of coins. Nowadays, this noble metal is often used in the manufacture of jewelry, such as watches, rings, bracelets, earrings, etc.

In addition, Olympic medals are also made from this noble metal. In some cases, gold is used in the manufacture of electronic devices.

Gold can also be used as:

  • Raw material for metal alloys with other metals, such as silver, copper and nickel
  • Component of electronic devices, mainly in photography;
  • Together with other chemical elements, it forms a compound used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Part of cancer treatment in radiotherapy treatments
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