Figure of the month: 3 kilometres
News Arnulf Hinkel – 01.06.2017
Gold is not only one of the most valuable elements on this planet, but also one of the most elastic. From just one gram of gold, a wire of up to 3000 metres in length can be produced. To manufacture a wire long enough to draw a full circle around earth, only slightly more than 13 kilograms of gold would be needed. It is impossible to achieve the same effect with any other metal. Gold can be stretched so far that wires or foils of only one micrometre thickness can be produced. A skilled goldsmith can manufacture almost 9 square meters worth of gold foil from just one gram of gold. However, this characteristic only applies to unprocessed fine gold, not to alloyed gold, which is harder and therefore much less flexible. Hence, jewellery made of gold always consists of alloys, since fine gold would be much too soft for this purpose. The density of gold is almost twenty times higher than the density of water. Also, gold is more stable than many other elements: neither oxidizing substances nor water can alter or damage it, not even most acids. Gold can be dissolved exclusively in aqua regia, a blend of nitric and hydrochloric acids. As a precious metal, gold is virtually imperishable. Due to these characteristics, and the fact that gold is an excellent heat and electricity conductor, it is specially suited for applications and products in the electronic industry. And there is quite another unique characteristic of gold that has always ensured its artistic appreciation in the form of jewellery and decorations of textiles and fashion: the radiant glow emanating from its polished surface. The financial as well as cultural appreciation of gold is also due to the fact that it is one of the rarest elements on this planet, even more rare than platinum.