What Gold is made up of?
Gold is among the oldest element in existence
Components of Gold
Gold atom is made up of 79 protons (atomic number) and 118 neutrons inside the nucleus, and 79 electrons circling the nucleus of the atom. The 79 electrons in a gold atom occupied 6 energy levels: 2 electrons in the 1st level, 8 electrons in the 2nd level, 18 electrons in the 3rd level, 32 electrons in the 4th level, 18 electrons in the 5th energy level, and only 1 electron on the 6th energy level. Having 1 electron in its outermost shell signifies that gold is a very good conductor. Locating it in the periodic table of elements, gold belongs to the group of metals known as the transition metals (group 3 to group 12 of the periodic table of elements).
Among the many isotopes of gold atom, there is only one stable gold isotope and that is Au-197, making gold atom the heaviest among the elements having only 1 stable isotope. Gold atom have 18 radioisotopes, and among them Au-195 is the most stable having a half-life of 186 days.
History, Properties and Uses of Gold Atom
Gold has been in existence throughout history, in many forms, but most are used in coinage and other goods. The chemical symbol of Gold Au which is very far from its given name, comes from its Latin name Aurum, meaning “shining dawn” – referring to the gold’s shining yellowish appearance. Pure gold metal is soft, dense, and shiny, also known as the most ductile and malleable metal known. Typical gold metal has an attractive and shining bright yellowish color.
Gold is widely used as a basis for money – a precious metal used in coinage. Apart from its monetary and store value, other uses of gold includes in electronics, jewelry and even in dentistry. Being a very good conductor of electricity, gold is used in making electrical wirings, though not that popular because it is very expensive. Gold is also used as decorations in jewelries which add to its overall value.
Another interesting fact about gold metal is that unlike other known metal, gold is less reactive. Gold does not react in many forms of acid except the acid mixture of aqua regia, mixture of cyanide and mercury. Gold does not react to nitric acid (used to dissolve silver and other base metals), that is why this process has been used to verify the occurrence of gold in an item – known as the acid test, which used as a standard test to determine gold’s genuine value.
There is also what we called white gold. White gold is made up of an alloy of gold and other metal in the same proportion and commonly used in jewelries.
Filed under: Science
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