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. 14.12.2018
    14.12.2018
    by      In
    HRS Heat Exchangers has developed a range of pasteuriser/steriliser units for the food packaging industry.
    All HRS Thermblock systems allow for full adjustment of the heating-holding-cooling cycle of the product, so that it can be tailored to a specific product and method of working. They can also... Read More
  2. 13.12.2018
    13.12.2018
    by      In
    Optibelt reckons its low-stretch and maintenance-free Red Power 3 v-belt drives offer a range of advantages in heavy-duty applications. Crucially, the belts are designed so that once correctly tensioned the first time, they don’t require retensioning - a valuable saver of time and money.
    A major... Read More
  3. 13.12.2018
    13.12.2018
    by      In
    Exair’s has developed a fine-mesh nonwoven drum cover for use on 60 and 205 litre drums. The breathable material allows the air from an Exair Line Vac air-operated conveyor to circulate when moving material in or out of a drum. The drum cover prevents contamination of the material and keeps it... Read More
  4. 12.12.2018
    12.12.2018
    by      In
    With almost 40 years of experience in applications of incremental shaft encoders, Plant Control & Automation has developed a number of instruments for both testing and simulating these complex devices.
    Now the company has put all this expertise into one instrument: the EncoderLab is both an... Read More