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Gold - Properties and Uses - Supplier Data by Goodfellow

Background

Gold has been known since prehistoric times.

It is a soft metal with a characteristic yellow colour. Gold is the most malleable and ductile of any element. It is unaffected by air, water, alkalis and acids, with the exception of “aqua regia”, HNO3/HCl. The fact that it is chemically unreactive means that it is often found in its natural state.

Gold is a good thermal and electrical conductor and has excellent reflective properties to both light and infrared. It has an abundance in the earth’s crust of 0.0011 ppm.

Most of the metal is retained for use as bullion reserves, but some is used within the electronics and jewellery industries, where it is frequently alloyed with other elements to improve the mechanical properties of the metal (e.g. copper and silver).

Other uses for Gold are as a heat reflecting coating for glass as well as as a decorative medium.

Key Properties

The key properties of Gold are tabulated below.

Table 1. Key properties

Atomic Properties
Atomic number 79
Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.144
Atomic weight ( amu ) 196.9665
Crystal structure Face centred cubic
Electronic structure Xe 4f14 5d10 6s1
Photo-electric work function ( eV ) 4.8
Thermal neutron absorption cross-section ( Barns ) 98.8
Valences shown 1,3
Ionisation Potential No. eV
1 9.22
2 20.5
Natural Isotope Distribution Mass No. %
197 100
Electrical Properties
Temperature coefficient ( K-1 ) 0.0040 @ 0-100
Electrical resistivity ( µOhm.cm ) 2.20 @ 20
Thermal emf against Pt (cold 0 °C - hot 100 °C) ( mV ) +0.74
Mechanical Properties
Material condition Soft Hard Polycrystalline
Bulk modulus ( GPa ) 171
Hardness - Vickers 20-30 60
Poisson's ratio 0.42
Tensile modulus ( GPa ) 78.5
Tensile strength ( MPa ) 130 220
Yield strength ( MPa ) 205
Physical Properties
Boiling point (°C ) 3080
Density ( g.cm-3 ) 19.30 @ 20
Melting point (°C ) 1064.4
Thermal Properties
Coefficient of thermal expansion ( x10-6 K-1 ) 14.1 @ 0-100
Latent heat of evaporation ( J.g-1 ) 1738
Latent heat of fusion ( J.g-1 ) 64.9
Specific heat ( J.K-1.kg-1 ) 129 @ 25
Thermal conductivity ( W.m-1.K-1 ) 318 @ 0-100

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