Gold, an Auspicious Metal

Posted on March 18, 2024 by Minerals Make Life

The Bright Future of Tech

Since its discovery, gold has always been a highly sought-after commodity. But last year, demand reached an all-time high. The increasing desire for this adaptable metal is due to several factors, including the proliferation of electronics, the renewed push for space exploration and the widespread need for advanced energy technologies. We break down each of these factors and more below.

We live in a digital world. From the computers used in classrooms to the phones we use for work, there is no escaping the rise of technology in nearly every aspect of our lives. Since 40 percent of U.S. gold usage is dedicated to electronics, the rise of technology means the rise of gold.

Space exploration is making headlines. There have been five launches in March 2024 already. Gold is used in spacecrafts to protect astronauts and their technologies from the intense temperatures of outer space. This mineral is particularly suited for space as it is highly conductive and resistant to corrosion. If humankind is to reach the stars, we first need to reach our abundant domestic reserves of gold to help us get there.

Gold is also an incredibly important metal when it comes to sustainable technologies. Check out this infographic that shows how gold is used to increase the efficiency of solar panels. Gold is also used in circuit boards in electric vehicles, the complex technology that connects the various electrical components to make the vehicle run.

But it doesn’t end there. Gold is used in catalytic converters to reduce emissions from vehicles that run on internal combustion. These converters turn harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides into less harmful substances, resulting in cleaner air.

Gold also plays a role in the production of hydrogen, a fuel source. Gold catalysts facilitate the water-gas shift reaction that is essential in the production of hydrogen from water or hydrocarbons.

Finally, gold helps to develop fuel cells. These are highly efficient and environmentally friendly power sources. Gold-based catalysts enhance the electrochemical reactions within fuel cells, improving their performance and longevity.

Beyond energy and electricity applications, gold is widely used in the medical field. In fact, gold is so versatile that it is used in dentistry, pharmacology, plastic surgery and cosmetology as well as radiation therapy for cancer patients. It’s also used in diagnostic tools like pregnancy tests and imaging equipment such as CAT scans.

Gold is certainly a beautiful metal, but it’s also extremely useful. Gold’s long list of surprising qualities cement its stance as one of the most valuable minerals on earth. The U.S. must expand our domestic mining efforts for this important substance if we want to meet the growing demand.

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