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Gold: Critical In Medical Applications

Updated on December 26, 2009

Biolistics is a field of medical and health research which is also centered on gold as it is the intersection between ballistics and biology. Gold powder which has been ground up to a microscopic level is actually blended with the DNA strands and is then injected into a human being in order to seek out targeted cells which allow the medical personnel to be able to watch the reaction in real time.

There are three primary attributes of gold that are critical for these types of medical procedures: Gold is not reactive with any other metal. The fact that gold is completely opaque allows it to be located with high degrees of precision as it was in the example of the stents. Gold is also extremely highly dense as it has a very high ratio of weight or mass to its volume. That allows a compound containing gold to reach the high velocities which are required in order to arrive at a cell which has been targeted and easily penetrate the cell wall.

Recent discoveries that nano-particles of gold (which are extremely small particles that do not exceed 25 nanometres in diameter) can actually take hydrogen atoms and split them is extremely important. This discovery will facilitate the reactions of oxidation in order to spark the creation of a whole new range of products within the discipline of organic chemistry.

There has been significant research including some that was recently published in Nature, the scientific journal, showing that the catalysts containing gold can actually sop up a significant standard process in chemistry which is used on an ongoing basis in industries around the world, in the production of countless tons of detergents, food additives and pharmaceuticals. Using gold as a catalyst for these by-products can certainly help remove them from the environment and help to minimize the effect of these industries on their surrounding ecosystems.

Gold is also part of various significant innovative applications in the environmental sciences through its capacity to act as a catalyst of chemicals. In the case of mercury emissions for pollution control, and also in fuel cells, gold is an indispensable material. It must be noted that approximately one trillion dollars out of the 14.6 trillion dollars of United States gross domestic product comes from procedures that utilize some aspect of catalysis industry. That overall importance of catalysis certainly does point out to the exceedingly and accelerating high value of gold as it is necessary to not only be adornment and electronics industries but also for industrial catalysis.

Some of the most important applications for gold are as a catalyst in reactions of various chemicals to achieve specific goals which include the generation of clean and green energy through fuel cells, the modes of detecting gaseous emissions in the processes of industry through sensors, the way to control exhaust emissions in various aspects of the environment (and especially those generated by vehicles which are diesel powered), and also as a petro-chemical and chemical process catalyst that utilizes gold as a critical aspect for the creation and manufacture of a number of chemicals, many of which are vital to industry and consumers.

More than 30 million cars on the planet are fitted with air bag systems and all of them rely exclusively on various electrical contact surfaces which are coated with gold. Even a standard telephone could not work without a minimum of 30 contacts which it contains that are also coated in gold. The keyboard on your personal computer utilizes gold circuit relays in order to transmit the keystroke into a command that your computer's microprocessor can comprehend.

Since gold is one of the most efficient conductors of electrical energy and is reliable to a degree that the other conducting metals such as copper and palladium are not, it is of significant value to almost all industrial and manufacturing processes in the world. Gold is also a superlative heat conductor. It is totally inert, does not have a reaction with almost any other substance known and it does not tarnish or corrode. All of those aspects are the primary factors which make gold reliable and relied upon, much more so than any other metal, in the applications of electronics circuitry. It is also those qualities which have made it so valuable as an adornment and wealth storage system for so many millennia on earth.

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