Does gold ever decay?

It's shiny, metallic and melts easily into bars, coins or jewelry. It will not rust, corrode or decompose. Gold, element number 79 in the Periodic Table of the Elements, is one of the most recognizable in the group. It is malleable and shiny, making it a good material for metalworking.

Chemically speaking, gold is a transition metal. Transition metals are unique, because they can bind to other elements using not only their outermost layer of electrons (the negatively charged particles that revolve around the nucleus of an atom), but also the two outermost layers. This occurs because the large number of electrons in transition metals interferes with the usual ordered classification of electrons in layers around the nucleus. Australian gold kangaroos were first minted in 1986 as the Australian gold nugget, but changed the reverse design in 1989.Gold also dissolves in mercury, forming amalgam alloys, and since gold acts simply as a solute, it is not a chemical reaction.

Other statues and award prizes are represented in gold or gold plated (such as Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards, Palme d'Or, and British Academy Film Awards). Common colored gold alloys include the distinctive eighteen-carat rose gold created by the addition of copper. Gold played a role in Western culture, as a cause of desire and corruption, as told in children's fables such as Rumpelstiltskin, where Rumpelstiltskin turns hay into gold for the peasant's daughter in exchange for her daughter when she becomes a princess and the theft of the hen that lays golden eggs in Jack and Beanstalk. Usually, gold is created from platinum, which has one less proton than gold, or from mercury, which has one more proton than gold.

Gold bars kept in Fort Knox and elsewhere in the world are considered 24 karat gold with 99.95 percent purity. As metals are added to gold during jewelry making, gold becomes less fine and the carat number decreases. Only 10% of global consumption of new gold produced goes to industry, but by far the most important industrial use of new gold is the manufacture of corrosion-free electrical connectors in computers and other electrical devices. Since the 1880s, South Africa has been the source of a large proportion of the world's gold supply, and about 22% of the gold currently accounted for comes from South Africa.

About 83% of the 2,700 tons of gold mined each year are extracted through a process called gold cyanidation, said Zhichang Liu, a postdoctoral researcher in chemistry at Northwestern University in Illinois. The proportion of gold in the alloy is measured in carats (k), with 24 carats (24k) being pure gold (100%), and proportionally lower lower carat numbers (18k %3D 75%). In addition, when radioactive gold undergoes radioactive decay after a few days, it is no longer gold. The value chain for industrial gold recycling, in particular, is longer, comprises more players and is more complex than the value chain for recycling high-value gold.

In a monetary system known as the gold standard, a certain weight of gold was given the name of a monetary unit. Fourteen- and eighteen-carat gold alloys with silver alone appear greenish-yellow in color and are called green gold.

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