Gold

The symbol for gold in the table of elements is “Au.” This is a universally known symbol, meaning that anyone in the scientific community would know what is being used in a chemical formula. Gold is renowned for it’s workability, or malleability, which means the ease at which it can change form by use of force. It is extremely resistant to attack by numerous chemicals, will not tarnish easily, discolor, or crumble, and of course, is valued worldwide as currency, a scientific element, as jewelry, or in medical uses. Gold is also used commonly in the processing of photographs.

When formed in nature, gold will form in the cubic form, either an octahedral form or a dodecahedral form. An octahedral crystal has eight triangular faces, whereas a dodecahedral crystal has twelve faces. Gold, as mentioned before has the trait of being extremely malleable. It can be flattened to .00001” of an inch. The Egyptians were the first to discover this, by making gold leaf and coating pillars, walls, pyramids, etc. etc. with gold leaf. They also discovered ways to make gold paints. Another interesting gold-fact is that one-ounce can be flattened to stretch 50 miles; this is probably impossible to see with the naked eye, yet science has proved it. The average gold ingot weighing 25 pounds will cover 21,600 miles!

A vast majority of gold contains some silver—meaning that it is not 100% pure. Gold that is pure has a specific gravity (ratio of the density of a given solid or liquid substance to the density of water at a specific temperature and pressure) of 19.3, when silver is added to the mix the specific gravity is reduced to 15.6. Gold is usually 70-90 percent pure, with the remainder usually silver, although it sometimes contains iron or copper. A majority of gold is found in ore, which is an iron-stained rock, or huge pieces of white quartz. Ore is crushed and the gold extracted by several different methods.