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Atomic Number: 79
Atomic Symbol: Au
Atomic Weight: 196.966569
Melting Point: 1,947.5 F (1,064.1 C)
Boiling Point: 5,173 F (2,856 C)
Word origin: The term gold has been used to describe the metal in several Germanic languages. The symbol Au comes from the Latin word aurum.
Discovery: Gold has been in use as a highly valued metal since the first civilizations began.
Properties of gold
Gold is a dense, soft, ductile metal with a bright yellow color. Its yellow color and luster makes it an attractive metal for fine jewelry and other precious objects. It is also the most malleable of all metals and retains its luster without tarnishing in air or water. It is also a good conductor of heat and electricity.
Gold has 18 isotopes. One isotope, 198 Au, is used in some cancer treatments and for treating other diseases.
Sources of gold
Gold is naturally found as a free metal and in tellurides, often in veins and alluvial deposits. The largest deposits of gold are found in South Africa. In the United States, much of the gold mined is found in South Dakota and Nevada. Gold can be removed from other cores by smelting, cyanide use and amalgamating.
Uses of gold
Gold is a highly valued metal with many applications. It has been used in:
- coinage and monetary exchange
- food and drink
- dental work
In food, very thin gold flakes or foil are sometimes added. It is also used to coat certain space satellites, as it is a good reflector of infrared light.
(Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory)