What Else is Gold Used For? Interesting Uses of Gold

Posted on Jun 25,2017

We all know the common uses of gold. People wear it or store it. In both cases, you could argue it’s not the gold itself that is of primary interest but the value and cultural significance we associate with it. If you don’t believe me, try buying your lover something made of fool’s gold. “But it’s the same color and everything,” you’ll say. I’m sure they’ll be impressed.

In a way, that’s kind of funny. After all, gold is one of the most useful metals on the planet. It conducts electricity well, does not tarnish or rust, is easy to work, can be drawn into wire or hammered into thin sheets, alloys with many other metals, and is easy to melt and mold. For that reason, it has found its way in a lot more places that most people aren’t aware of. Let’s look at some.

Electronics

By weight, there is more gold in electronic devices than there is in the soil you dig up in a gold mine. Therefore, to find gold it’s better to get people to give you their old electronics than to go dig a mine somewhere. And it will mean a lot less digging.

The reason gold is so common in electronics is because of its conductivity and because it doesn’t tarnish. This makes it useful in low-voltage electronics. After all, if a connection tarnishes that can mean your device stops working. And that is obviously not what you want your machines to do. So yeah, it makes the device more expensive, but it’s worth it.

How much gold does your average device hold? About 50 cents worth. No, that’s not a lot, but as we’re producing about a billion cellphones per year, that still adds up. And a great deal of that isn’t getting reclaimed. Of course, when that happens there are always entrepreneurs ready to do their part. It’s surprisingly easy to do.

Dentistry

It’s less common today than it used to be, but plenty of people still have gold fillings. It makes sense as gold is malleable. That makes it a lot easier to form into a filing than, say, a piece of iron. I mean, you might protest if your dentist approached you with a beaker of molten iron. Besides, rust would be a serious problem.

Did you know that for many people who weren’t able to afford gold in yea olden days used lead instead? That’s right, highly poisonous lead was used in fillings, due to its malleability. And I guess the pain of having a rotten tooth can drive you insane as well, right?

Nowadays, of course, they are much more likely to use porcelain for fillings. It’s cheaper, looks like your actual tooth and is a lot less likely to turn thieves into amateur dentists.

Medicine

Gold even has medical properties. Granted, it isn’t used in too many operations, but there are some ways that gold can boost your health. For example, gold can be injected into rheumatic joints to relieve the pain. It’s also used in the case of some cancers, with radiated gold placed in tumors to treat them.

There is also a strange condition called “lagophthalmos”. This is where a person can’t close their eyes completely. That must be real annoying if you’re trying to get a good night sleep. Or what about if your lover insist you don’t love them if you don’t close your eyes when you kiss? In that case, a small amount of gold is placed in the eyelid, where it helps weigh it down so you can close your eyes. Why gold? Because it’s both heavy and non-reactive. That means you don’t need much and it doesn’t have all sorts of nasty side effects.

It’s also used as a tracker. In this case it’s injected into the body, so that it can be tracked through the body as something known as a beta emitter. And, of course, the electronics in hospitals will also use gold. After all, if there is one group of electronic devices that you don’t want failing it’s medical equipment.

Aerospace

This one would be a lot higher up the list if we were shooting more things into space. The reason why is that it’s used a lot in spacecraft. This is, among other things, because of its reliability. This makes gold a natural go-to material when repairs are hard. Not only is it used in all the electronics, but a thin sheet also covers spaceships’ outer surfaces. This is because it is effective at reflecting infrared radiation. And that’s something you want to do if you don’t want your astronauts to die or your circuity to get fried.

Interestingly, it’s also used as a lubricant. You see, liquids don’t work well in a vacuum. They become reactive or boil away. Gold offers a good alternative, as it has a low shear strength. That means that when gold molecules pass by each other without pulling or yanking at each other. And that is basically what you want a lubricant to do.

In conclusion

So there you have it. Gold is not only a signal of love, status or wealth. It has many other uses, from conductors to lubricants, from dentistry to medicine. And no doubt we’ll invent even more in the future. For example, its high conductivity makes it useful to move electricity over longer distances.

So will that mean that the price of gold will keep rising? Perhaps. Of course, there is more than enough gold to meet all our needs and then some. By some estimates there is enough of the stuff in the oceans to give every person nine pounds worth. We just haven’t figured out how to get it out yet.

So if you’re looking for a weekend project, there’s one for you to consider.

 

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Sri Ram Nagar B-117, Jhotwara JaipurRajasthan302012 USA 
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