Gold is one of the most sought-after precious metals found on the planet. It is obtained in the form of grains in rocks and alluvial deposits. The bright yellow color of pure gold gives it a lustrous finish which adds to the beauty of the metal. Everybody knows that a large part of the total obtained gold is utilized in making jewelry, but besides jewelry it has some other uses as well.
Uses of Gold
This precious metal has been used by humans since several centuries. Statistics reveal that approximately 161,000 tons of gold has been mined by humans as of now. Traditionally restricted to jewelry, today gold serves as a vital component of various fields, including electronics and aerospace.
Jewelry and Finance
Use of gold in making jewelry and financial transactions dates back to around 6000 years ago. Approximately 78% of the total gold mined today is used in manufacturing jewelry. Various properties of gold, including its luster and ability to resist oxidization in air and water, make it a popular choice when it comes to making ornaments. Alloying gold with other metals, such as copper or silver, increases its durability, which is capitalized on while making gold jewelry.
These alloys of gold though, have low value compared to its pure form. Being portable and durable, gold has been used for financial transactions since ages. The tradition continues even today, with organizations dealing in finance keeping gold bars or gold bullion as backups for currency.
This may sound surprising, but gold is also used in various electronic devices, ranging from calculators to computers. Even cell phones and television sets you use in your day-to-day life contain a small amount of this precious metal. Gold is an efficient conductor of electricity and, more importantly, it does not corrode like other metals used in electrical devices. It is used in connectors, soldered joints, connecting wires, etc. Owing to its property of being a good conductor, gold is used in computers as well. In a computer system, various parts made from this metal facilitate accurate transmission of digital data at tremendous speeds.
In medicine, gold is used in diagnosis and treatment of certain medical conditions. In cancer treatment, for instance, particles of radioactive gold planted in tissues serve as radiation sources. Radioactive gold is also used in diagnosis of certain medical conditions. In lagophthalmos, an ailment characterized by the person's inability to close his eyes, small amount of gold is planted in the upper eyelid to help the person close them. Being chemically inert and non-allergenic in nature, gold alloys are used as fillings, crowns, and orthodontic appliances in dentistry.
Being highly dependable, gold has several uses in aerospace technology. Gold-coated polyester film used in the spacecraft helps in reflecting infrared radiations and stabilizing the temperature within it. It is used in circuitry owing to the fact that it is a good conductor of electricity. In spacecraft, gold is used to lubricate various mechanical parts, as organic lubricants are hardly of any use in the vacuum of space, where radiation far exceeds that on the Earth.
Other than the uses discussed above, it is also used for making glass, medals, designer artifacts, etc. For all those who thought that this precious metal was only used for ornamental purposes, its various uses must have definitely come as a surprise.