When someone mentions gold, most minds immediately jump to lustrous coins and bullion. Though gold is certainly beautiful, it is used for a variety of purposes beyond jewellery and the backing of currencies. Ask anyone who is an engineer, doctor or astronaut as to what gold means to them and they will likely give a completely different answer than laymen. Keep reading to find out why gold is so valuable to a wide variety of people and industries.
Why Gold is Valuable Beyond its Aesthetics
Did you know gold can withstand incredibly hot temperatures and not melt? Gold also conducts electricity, can be pressed into different shapes without cracking, alloys quite nicely with other metals, does not tarnish and can be worked into sheets and wires with ease. These attributes make gold extremely useful across all sorts of different industries aside from the financial sector and the jewellery business.
Gold’s use in the Medical Industry
Gold is used in an array of medical devices. This precious metal helps everyone from the ill to those who suffer from physical limitations. Gold has been used by the Chinese as a vaccine to treat a variety of diseases. It is even used to alleviate arthritic pain and improve implants like pacemakers and stents. Egyptians and Japanese have used gold as a vitamin of sorts. Some have resorted to gold to prevent measles and smallpox.
Gold’s Utility in the Context of Electronics
Gold improves electronics thanks to its malleability and conductivity. It is possible to stretch gold to incredible thinness without causing it to crack. Many other metals would break if stretched to such a thinness. Gold doesn’t rust quickly or easily. Add in the fact that it conducts electricity and it is easy to see why so many electronics manufacturers are using this precious metal in their devices. Take a look at the electronics in your living or working space. Everything from your cell phone to your computer and video cables makes use of gold. This precious metal is even used in switches, fuses, circuits, audio cables, plugs and adapters.
Gold’s use in Space Shuttles
Though few know it, gold is used in every space shuttle launched by the United States. Gold lines the exterior portion of these shuttles as it doesn’t melt at high rates of speed or when exposed to hot temperatures. This precious metal is even used in the wiring and instruments of space shuttles to boot. These shuttles have all sorts of wiring due to their incredible complexity. As a result, plenty of gold is used in these amazing crafts. There is even gold on astronaut helmets. The purpose of using gold on helmets is to safeguard astronauts’ eyes and skin from the sun’s damaging rays.
Gold in the Context of Oral Health and Beauty
From dental fillings to the gold grills sported by hip-hop artists, gold is quite prominent in the field of dentistry. Gold is an excellent metal for filling teeth as it can be bent into a new shape with ease and is not prone to corrosion. Gold can be joined with hardening agents that make it even more rigid so it does not incur damage during the chewing process. This precious metal stands the test of time without flaw. Furthermore, gold is hypoallergenic, meaning it is highly unlikely to induce an allergic reaction from a patient.
Gold is Also in Makeup and Sunscreen
Small amounts of gold are used in sunscreen. As noted above, gold protects the skin against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. If you travel to China, you will likely find makeup that contains gold. Extremely small pieces of gold are used in makeup to enhance aesthetic appeal.
The most popular use of gold is to create awe-inspiring jewellery. Over three-quarters of gold consumption is driven by the jewellery industry and its consumers. All sorts of cultures value gold for its beauty. It is shiny and can take a beating without cracking or rusting. These features make it the perfect metal for beautification purposes. Vacation in India and you will likely spot people donning gold on their bodies as a means of attracting good karma.
From Olympic gold medals to Academy Awards, crowns and statues gold is built into all sorts of different awards and prestigious objects. Gold is used in these coveted medals as it is held in extremely high esteem by nearly all societies across the world.
Gold’s Role in Glassmaking
Take a look at the glass in your home or office. Does it look like gold is built into it? Probably not. However, gold really is used in glassmaking. It serves as a pigment in the creation of glass. All it takes to generate a lovely ruby hue in glass is a tiny amount of gold to be suspended within the material during the annealing process.
Climate-controlled cases and buildings used by all sorts of businesses also make use of gold in their specialty glass. A very small amount of gold is placed within the glass or even spread across its surface to reflect the sun’s rays away from the buildings.
This technique proves especially beneficial during those blazing hot summer months. During the winter, gold-lined glass serves to reflect heat within a building right back inside so it doesn’t escape and lower the indoor temperature.