Gold gets its name from the Germanic word “gulpa”  (meaning gold). The old English word “geolu”  means yellow.The Italian for gold is “oro” and the Italian for yellow is “giallo”. I see the similarities. In Latin gold was called “aurum”. This is why the chemical symbol for gold is Au.

Gold can be found on nearly every continent on earth but the largest deposits are in the continents of Africa and India.Throughout the course of man-kind gold has been used to make coins , rings , jewellery etc.Gold is fundamental  to many religions and cultures and from being Catholic myself , during mass  a priest may use a chalice made from a gold alloy.

Gold has an atomic weight of 196. 7 and is 19.3 times more dense than water (the degree of compactness of a substance).

Gold is solid in state at room temperature and has a Melting Point of 1064.14°C  ( 1947.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and has a Boiling Point of 2850 °C (5162 degrees Fahrenheit)

Gold has between 18 amd 59 isotopes(the reason being that many are created artificially and are only stable for microseconds/milliseconds before decaying into another element). Gold has 36 radioisotopes that have been synthesised ranging in atomic mass from 169 to 205. The most stable is 195Au with a half life of 186.1 days.An isotope if an atom with the same number of protons but different neutron number). The most common isotopes of gold is Au -197 and it makes up 100% of naturally occurring gold(it isnaturally occurring).

Gold is a transition metal and the general properties of these metals is that they are dense , good conductors of heat and electricity and possess useful mechanical properties. However gold is malleable, thus gold alloys are much more useful.  Gold is very unreacrive and found in its native state and so extraction is very unnecessary(when it is found it’ll usually be in its ore already).

If a metal is malleable then it is because the neat arrangement of atoms allows for the atoms to be easily moved. Introducing a gold alloy enables for larger or smaller sized atoms to lock the arrangement making the metal harder.

Gold and copper were the first metals to be discovered by humans around 5000 B.C.

Researchers attach molecules to gold nanoparticles that are attracted to diseased regions of the body , such as cancer tumours.This enabled the functionalized gold nanoparticles to be used to in targeted drug delivery. Nano-chemistry is a new emerging researched area but that deserves it’s own blog post! 


A-level Chemistry fourth edition by E.N Ramsden

All pictures are from Google images.

Writing is my own.