Properties and Occurrence of Gold

Gold is a soft but dense bright yellow metal that has an atomic number of 79 in the periodic table of elements. Its symbol is Au which is derived from the Latin word aurum which literally means “gold”. It is one of the transition elements found in the periodic table. Pure gold is considered as the most ductile and malleable of all the metals that are currently known to man.



This means that it is very easy to draw it into a wire that is 62 miles or 100 kilometers long and hammer or beat it into a sheet that has a thickness of 0.000005 inches or 0.000013 centimeters and a weight of 12 oz or 29 grams. Gold is a good conductor of electricity and heat and is one of the softest metals (hardness rating of 2.5 to 3 out of 10) on Earth.


The metal has a high quality of sheen and is bright yellow in color. Like any other metallic powder, finely divided Gold is black in color. Gold powder that is suspended in a colloidal medium has a color that ranges from ruby red to purple. The metal is highly inactive.


Gold remains unaltered by heat, air, moisture and most existing solvents. Nonetheless, it will break down in aqueous mixtures that contain halogens such as bromides, chlorides and or a number of iodides. Gold also has a tendency to dissolve in a number of oxidizing mixtures such as aqua regia (which is a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids) and oxygen with cyanide ion.


The metal has a melting point of about 1947°F or 1064°C, a boiling point of around 5173°F or 2856°C, a specific gravity of 19.3 and an atomic weight of 196.97. Gold can be naturally found in secondary alluvial deposits and or in quartz veins either as a free metal or in a combined state. Even though the metal is considerably rare, being 75th in rank in terms of abundance of elements in the Earth’s crust, it is broadly dispersed throughout the world.


Gold is almost all the time associated with different amounts of silver (a naturally occurring gold and silver alloy is referred to as an electrum). Gold can also occur in chemical combinations with other elements and minerals. The metal has also been found in seawater to the extent of around 5 to 250 parts by weight to 100 million parts water.



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