none
none

GOLD AS LIGHT AS AIR

30-11-2015
by 
in 

Gold as light as light as air, that’s a thing. Researchers in Switzerland have been able to produce a light form of gold that consists of 98% air, 20-carat gold, and milk protein.  

Although it still looks like gold, with a metallic sheen, it is mostly made almost all out of air and has a range of different properties that make it more that just a fashion statement.

"The so-called aerogel is a thousand times lighter than conventional gold alloys," says Raffaele Mezzenga, materials scientist from ETH Zurich.

"It is lighter than water and almost as light as air." 

Making a 3D mesh of gold that is comprised mostly of pores produces the aerogold.

As mentioned only 2% is not air. Of that remaining 2% four fifths is gold, and the rest is milk protein.

The milk proteins, are heated up to create the fibres, which are know as amyloid fibrils, are mixed with a gold salt solution.

In this mixture, the fibres become interlock forming the first basic structure, and the gold particles form in a crystallised form around it.

The next challenge was to dry the solution without destroying the network the milk fibres and gold, to resolve this they put it though a supercritical drying process, the same used to decaffeinate coffee.

"When we change the reaction conditions in order that the gold doesn't crystallise into microparticles, but rather smaller nanoparticles, it results in a dark-red gold," said one of the team.

This alteration of the aerogel lead to the researching being able to mess with the colours, but have also been able to alter the materials rate of absorptions and reflection.

This means that gold can be put to less novel uses, and have potential as a chemical catalyst. The huge surface area means that the aerogel would facilitate chemical reactions and incredible rates.

"At normal atmospheric pressure the individual gold particles in the material do not touch, and the gold aerogel does not conduct electricity," says Mezzenga.

"But when the pressure is increased, the material gets compressed and the particles begin to touch, making the material conductive."

Related news & editorials

  1. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    Turck has developed a novel protocol that enables high-density networking with I/O resource constrained PLCs. The Backplane Ethernet Extension Protocol (BEEP) can be used to network up to 33 devices and link them to a PLC on a single connection using a single IP address.
    The first device in the I/O... Read More
  2. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    Ham and salami producer D’Orsogna is expanding its business on the east coast, opening a $41 million facility in Melbourne’s north.
    In what was one of the biggest industrial deals in Melbourne in 2017, D’Orsogna has signed up to build a 10,858-square-metre manufacturing plant on 3 hectares at... Read More
  3. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    Satellite communications company Myriota is set to open an Internet of Things laboratory to help meet the demand for its technology.
    The $2.72 million laboratory will be located in the CBD of Adelaide to allow the company to integrate its ultra-low-cost satellite IoT solution into a wide range of... Read More
  4. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    After almost a century, the UK’s most iconic tool brand has arrived in Australia. Hartech Tools has been appointed the exclusive Australian wholesale distributor to launch and build Draper Tools in the Australian marketplace.
    Draper Tools was started in 1919 when the founder, Bert Draper, sold... Read More