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Home > Scrap General > Scrap Metal Commodities Reference - G > Gold


Gold is one of the prehistoric metals, having been from the earliest times. The alchemists called it sol (the sun) and represented it by the circle, the symbol of perfection, for, to them, gold was the most perfect of all metals. Gold is usually found in the metallic state. It is widely distributed in Nature. Sea-water contains 3.5 grains of gold per ton, and granite, on the average, contains .37 parts of gold per million tons. Gold is a yellow metal, being the most malleable and ductile of all metals. Gold sheets as thin as .000004 inch have been made. In such thin sheets, gold transmits green light, and the vapor of boiling gold is green.
Gold is not acted upon by air or oxygen, or by most chemical reagents. Hence it forms one of a group of Noble metals, which remain unattacked by most influences. Hot selenic acid is the only single acid which will dissolve gold. The metal is, of course, dissolved by aqua regia, a mixture of strong nitric and hydrochloric acids. As a coinage and jewellery metal, gold has been used from very ancient times. It has also constituted a store of value par excellence. As an ordinary working metal, however, it is useless, being, in the unalloyed state, too soft. In the form of gold leaf and in various alloyed conditions, the metal, despite its high price, is still used enormously.

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