Gold: Technological and Medical uses
Medical practices & Medicine
Twenty Four Securities (24Securities) is a Limited Liability Company incorporated and licensed under the laws of the Saint Vincent
The use of gold in dentistry dates back to before Christ. They used gold 'wires' to keep replaced teeth in place in those times. The demand for gold for dental purposes has decreased as more people opt for more advanced ceramics in recent years. You can still see a rise in Google searches whenever the price of gold increases. Below you can see the price of gold, in gold, vs the number of times people search for dental gold, meaning that people get more interested in selling their dental gold whenever the prices are elevated.
The most crucial reason gold was used (and still is sometimes) in tooth restoration is that it has an extremely low chance of the body reacting to it. It is therefore considered non-allergic or non-toxic. Gold is one of the minor reactive metals on earth, making it useful for these applications since it doesn't react to the body and doesn't rust, meaning that it can last for decades.
However, lateral flow technology is still dependent on a minimal quantity of gold in the form of nanoparticles. If the term lateral flow technology or lateral flow testing does not ring a bell, it is the technology used in the well-known COVID-19 rapid tests. Gold is used as an indicator, which causes the much-feared colour change. Although covid is the most recent use case of these lateral flows, they have been used for years in tests for other diseases, such as malaria.
Gold nanoparticles are used in many other applications within the medical sector. Their reflecting and absorbing qualities make them suitable for electron microscopy, allowing scientists to examine microorganisms and cells. On top of that, gold nanoparticles are used to fight infections by heating the particles and killing bacteria via a thermal shock. These techniques are used to make breakthroughs in cancer research.
Common Electronic Devices
With the advance of new technology and microprocessors, gold has been a critical element in this revolution. All of your phones, laptops and tablets contain a small amount of gold. A typical iPhone contains about 0.034g of gold or around $2 worth at the current rate. Gold on its own does not have the best electroconductive capacity. Copper, for example, has a much better capacity, which is why you still see the majority of the power lines being made out of copper.
So, why don't we use these cheaper and less scarce metals? As mentioned before, gold does not oxidize when it comes into contact with air. In other words, it is corrosion-free. Once copper or even silver corrodes, its electrical properties change, which would affect the microprocessor. For this reason, it is incorporated into CPUs, RAM chips and motherboards and other circuit boards. Within these components, gold is primarily used in soldering points, electrical connectors, relays, etc. These parts are not solid gold, but gold plated most of the time.
Although small quantities are mainly used, they add up quickly, and economies are developing around extracting gold from microprocessors and reusing it. You can even find people trying to recover gold themselves from intel CPU. Still, given the small quantities in each processor, you need advanced machinery and enjoy economies of scale to create a profitable business.
Just like gold is used in microprocessors for its inert properties, it is used for the same reason in space engineering. Here, it is used as a conductor and connector. But another exciting property of gold is that it is highly reflective, which is a more applicable property in space engineering. Coating components with gold can reflect large amounts of radiation and heat. We are, of course, talking about an incredibly thin layer here.
For the same reason, gold is also used in glass manufacturing. In this way, they can keep buildings cool or warm when needed. Below you can read a short statement of a successful mission carried out by NASA.
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