Teacher's Corner

Gold Facts

You can catch "gold fever", be "good as gold", and "follow the golden rule"... but do you know why we value gold? People have valued gold for its rarity and shining beauty for millenia: it has and still is used for art, jewelry, currency and even filling teeth. As well, gold has been valued in every aspect of our lives from art to electronics to religion because of its unique properties.

Gold is incredibly soft and maleable - that means you can pound, twist, bend and stretch it without it breaking or tearing. Though gold has more than 19 times the mass of water (this means that gold is more than 19 times heavier than the same volume of water), you can pound a piece of gold so thin that it will float to the ground like a feather. This "gold leaf" is used to coat just about everything: sculptures, souveniers and even cake.


Some facts about gold:

Here are some facts about gold. Test yourself and see if you know anything about..Gold Facts!

Gold is a metal, one of the heaviest.

The symbol for gold is AU.

Atomic number=79

Gold is very soft.

This precious metal is heavily concentrated at the Earth's Core.

Neither acids nor corrosion that spoil other metals can spoil gold. Salt water does not harm gold. Find out more ...

Gold is 19.32 times the weight of it's own volume of water.

Atomic weight=197.2

Melting point 1,945 Fahrenheit.

Pure gold is said to be 24 karat.

18-karat gold would be 18 parts gold and six parts another metal.

Natural locations: quartz veins and stream (or placer) deposits.

Gold is also used in many of today's electronic and computer devices. Space travel depends on gold - from the electronics inside to radiation shields outside. Next time you see astronauts in outer space, try to spot all that heavy gold they've taken with them. (Hint: try to look a space suited astronaut in the eye.)

Would you know real gold if you found it? Don't be fooled...

Last updated November 30, 1998.
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