When gold uses come to mind it’s often associated with jewellery, wealth and status.
While that is mostly true, gold is long valued beyond its superficial uses. Gold is in high demand in various industries due to its unique physical properties and applications.
Gold’s earliest applicational uses
When ancient civilizations first discovered gold, they were allured by its beauty and how easy it was to shape into different forms.
Beautiful ornaments, jewellery, statues and religious artefacts came to be gold’s primary uses in the early ages.
Not much later, gold naturally replaced the barter system as a medium of value exchange, making trade much easier. It became the world’s first form of money because it was portable, measurable and universally identifiable.
Gold applications today
1. Gold in electronics
As you know, gold is an excellent conductor of electricity. It is a reliable electric component in motherboards, microchips and circuitry used in common electronic devices such as handphones and computers.
Most everyday electronic devices require low voltages which can easily be interrupted by rust and corrosion. Compared to other metals, gold is the most reliable and durable electric component because it allows for electric currents to pass between contact points without ever rusting.
Fun fact: there are small amounts of gold in almost every electronic device you own. Close to a billion mobile phones are produced each year and most contain roughly 50 cents (USD) worth of gold!
2. Gold in dentistry
Interestingly, gold was used in dentistry as far back as 700 B.C!
Gold is used in dentistry because it’s non-allergenic. This means it doesn’t cause any allergies or reactions when it comes into contact with the human body.
Its softness makes it easy for dentists to shape into orthodontic moulds such as:
- Tooth fillings
- Grills (mostly for aesthetic reasons)
3. Gold in the medicinal industry
Gold’s medical applications are too extensive to be listed here, but some common uses include:
Gold can be tracked as it passes through the human body for screening, investigation and diagnosis of cancer cells.
Gold particles are injected into tissues to help serve as a radiation source in chemotherapy treatment.
Gold is a biometal (non-reactive to the human body) and is commonly used in surgical instruments and life support devices.
4. Gold in aerospace technology
There is a lot of radiation in space that is harmful to astronauts and space equipment. Prolonged exposure to radiation can cause machinery and electronics to quickly expire and disintegrate due to rising temperatures.
Gold is valued in aerospace technology because it effectively reflects radiation. Such as in satellites, gold foils help with thermal control and protects onboard instruments from the extreme temperatures of space.
For astronauts, thin gold films are applied on helmet screens to protect their eyes from sunlight and faces from radiation. Gold coatings are also applied on spaceships and satellites to deflect heat.
5. Gold as awards and medals
One of the more popular commercial uses of gold is as trophies and medals. Gold holds both a high financial and symbolic value; hence, it is often awarded as the highest honour in competitive fields such as winning first place in the Olympics.
Fun facts: Most Olympic gold medals are more than 90% silver with only about 6 grams of pure gold plating.
6. Gold leaf and glassmaking
A lesser-known use of gold is that of glassmaking and gold leaves and gold foils used entirely for decorative purposes.
Gold glassmaking incorporates thin gold leaves fused between two layers of glass. It is a form of luxury glassware renown for its beautiful gold designs.
Gold leaves aren’t only used in glassmaking but are also used to decorate mirrors, tableware, chandeliers, cups, plates, art frames, etc.
Gold into the future
As you can see, gold’s many uses are why the precious metal is in such high demand. Technology and research are advancing and we are finding new applications and potential uses for gold every day.
According to the world gold council, we are seeing new and increasing advancements of gold applications in the following areas:
Researchers have been working on HIV/AIDS diagnosis technologies using experimental gold nanoparticles.
Gold nanoparticles are being used to improve the efficiency of solar cells and are proving to potentially be more effective fuel cell catalysts.
3. New technology
Gold nanotechnologies are being implemented into visual display technologies, such as touch-sensitive screens; data storage technologies such as flash drives; implantable electronics that can monitor patients’ vitals; and stretchable solar panels that can be integrated into clothing.
From now and into the foreseeable future, gold will likely remain a highly-sought metal that is critical to numerous industries.
Invest in 99.99% gold for the future
You know by now that as an industrial commodity, gold is in high demand due to its versatile industrial applications.
But more than that:
As an investment, gold has shown reliable growth on your capital in the long term.
As jewellery, gold virtually lasts forever and will likely increase in value as gold prices increase.
All this points to one thing: the value of gold will only continue to increase as industries continue to demand gold.
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Recommended reading: How to buy and sell gold bullion from your mobile phone