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Science >> Chemistry for Kids >> Periodic Table
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Elements for Kids

Gold

The element gold

  • Symbol: Au
  • Atomic Number: 79
  • Atomic Weight: 196.966
  • Classification: Transition metal
  • Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
  • Density: 19.282 grams per cm cubed
  • Melting Point: 1064°C, 1947°F
  • Boiling Point: 2856°C, 5173°F
  • Discovered by: Known about since ancient times
Gold is the third element in the eleventh column of the periodic table. It is classified as a transition metal. Gold atoms have 79 electrons and 79 protons with 118 neutrons in the most abundant isotope.

Characteristics and Properties

Under standard conditions gold is a shiny yellow metal. It is very dense and heavy, but also fairly soft. Gold is the most malleable of the metals meaning that it can be pounded into a very thin sheet. It is also one of the most ductile metals and can be easily stretched into a long wire.

Gold is more than just a beautiful metal. It is an excellent conductor of electricity and heat. It is also one of the most resistant metals to corrosion and rust when exposed to air and water.

Where is it found on Earth?

Gold is an extremely rare element on Earth. Because it doesn't react with very many other elements, it is often found in its native form in the Earth's crust or mixed with other metals like silver. It can be found in veins underground or in small fragments in sandy riverbeds.

Gold is also found in ocean water. However, the process for retrieving gold from ocean water costs more than the gold itself.

How is gold used today?

Gold has been used for thousands of years to make jewelry and coins. Today it is still used for jewelry and for some collector's edition coins. Gold is also considered an important and reliable investment.

When gold is used as jewelry or for coins, it is generally not pure gold. Pure gold is called 24 karat gold and it is very soft. Generally gold is alloyed with other metals such as copper or silver in order to make it harder and more durable.

Gold is used a lot in the electronics industry because of its good electrical conductivity and resistance to corrosion. Many electrical contacts and connectors are plated with gold for protection and reliability.

Other applications for gold include heat shielding, dental work, cancer treatment, and decoration such as gold thread and gold plating.

How was it discovered?

Gold has been known about since ancient times. Civilizations such as Ancient Egypt used gold over 5000 years ago. It has long been a substance of value and wealth.

Where did gold get its name?

Gold gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon word "geolo" for yellow. The symbol Au comes from the Latin word for gold, "aurum."

Isotopes

Gold has only one naturally occurring stable isotope: gold-197.

Interesting Facts about Gold

More on the Elements and the Periodic Table

Elements
Periodic Table

Alkali Metals
Lithium
Sodium
Potassium

Alkaline Earth Metals
Beryllium
Magnesium
Calcium
Radium

Transition Metals
Scandium
Titanium
Vanadium
Chromium
Manganese
Iron
Cobalt
Nickel
Copper
Zinc
Silver
Platinum
Gold
Mercury
Post-transition Metals
Aluminum
Gallium
Tin
Lead

Metalloids
Boron
Silicon
Germanium
Arsenic

Nonmetals
Hydrogen
Carbon
Nitrogen
Oxygen
Phosphorus
Sulfur
Halogens
Fluorine
Chlorine
Iodine

Noble Gases
Helium
Neon
Argon

Lanthanides and Actinides
Uranium
Plutonium

More Chemistry Subjects

Matter
Atom
Molecules
Isotopes
Solids, Liquids, Gases
Melting and Boiling
Chemical Bonding
Chemical Reactions
Radioactivity and Radiation
Mixtures and Compounds
Naming Compounds
Mixtures
Separating Mixtures
Solutions
Acids and Bases
Crystals
Metals
Salts and Soaps
Water
Other
Glossary and Terms
Chemistry Lab Equipment
Organic Chemistry
Famous Chemists


Science >> Chemistry for Kids >> Periodic Table





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