Gold

Gold: Its Many Surprising Uses

The Storied Metal Is Much More Than Currency
BY Anne Johnson TIMEJuly 29, 2022 PRINT

Gold is one form of exchange that people have agreed upon worldwide, since it was discovered. That shiny metal around your neck has been used to barter for centuries.

However, gold has many other uses. Knowing how gold is used can help you understand its true value. It’s more than just another form of currency.

An Investment Opportunity

Gold is often seen as an alternative when the bull retires and the bear market comes out. A recent retreat in U.S. Ten Year Treasury yields created a slight increase in the price of gold.

Historically, investors have used gold as a hedge against currency devaluation and inflation.

The Cost of Gold

The price of gold fluctuates daily. It is dependent on several factors. To name a few: the value of the U.S. dollar, the demand for gold, and the amount of gold held in central bank reserves.

Gold in Computers

Gold is used in computers and most electronics because of its electrical conductivity. Electricity can easily flow through it without resistance. In addition, gold accurately transmits digital information from one computer component to another.

The other advantage of gold is it’s malleable. It can be drawn into wires and hammered into sheets easily. Gold doesn’t tarnish like other metals.

Gold is used as an alternative to copper because it’s inert. That means it doesn’t corrode as easily as copper does. Copper also transmits information more slowly than gold.

The Value of Your Laptop’s Gold

It would take the gold in roughly 7,500 computers to equal a kilo of gold. That’s because each computer contains only about 0.2 grams of gold. A laptop contains roughly 0.006 grams. Depending on the price of gold, that means each computer contains around $12 worth of gold, while the value of the gold in a laptop comes to about $6.

But computers and laptops don’t last forever. They often end up in landfills and the gold is lost. In the United States, approximately 41 million computers end up in landfills. If you run the numbers, that’s around $492 million in gold.

Some industrious individuals have begun extracting this gold.

Smartphones and Gold

Smartphones use small amounts of gold. That’s because they also need the conductivity that gold offers.

The stability of gold is another factor here. Smartphones get beat up in day-to-day use, but gold is the most stable atom. It remains gold even in the harshest conditions.

Although pure silver has a higher conductivity and is less expensive, it’s not as stable as gold.

The Value of Your Smartphone’s Gold

A smartphone contains roughly 0.034 grams of gold. Depending on the price of gold, that equates to about $1.83 per phone.

One hundred million phones end up in landfills every year. This equates to roughly $183 million per year!

Gold and Dentistry

Although dental gold is slightly different than what’s wrapped around your wrist, there are many reasons that dentists prefer and use gold. For one, gold holds up to chewing. When you’re chewing, it doesn’t chip or crack. That’s because it’s flexible.

Gold is resistant to oral acid, bacteria, and corrosion. This allows it to last decades. And since gold is like enamel, it doesn’t contribute to wear on other teeth.

The Value of that Old Crown

There’s value in high-grade dental gold. High grade is 73 to 84 percent pure gold. A crown uses approximately one-tenth of an ounce. This makes it worth around $40 to $50, depending on current gold prices.

Often, when people have a crown replaced, they keep their old crowns and sell them to pawnbrokers.

Space Exploration

NASA uses gold in its aerospace program. Here, using gold goes beyond the need for a stable conductor. Gold is also used to coat polyester film in many parts of a space vehicle. The film helps stabilize the temperature of the spacecraft by reflecting infrared radiation.

Because of the vacuum of space, organic lubricants would break down. Because of the intense radiation, these lubricants wouldn’t hold up in Earth’s atmosphere. The solution is gold, which can be used as a lubricant because gold molecules can slip past each other under friction’s force.

Even the astronaut is protected by gold. A thin film of gold is layered on the astronaut’s helmet, protecting both eyes and skin.

The Gold Circling Our Planet

There are hundreds of satellites orbiting Earth. And these satellites are worth their weight in gold. It’s estimated there are seven-and-a-half million kilograms of gold circling our planet. Depending on gold prices, that’s over three billion dollars worth of gold. Yet, interestingly, most of those satellites no longer work.

Precious in Many Ways

Gold goes beyond that wedding band on your finger. From computer components to putting man on the moon, it has many uses. And depending on what gold is worth on any given day, grandma’s mouth may be worth a lot of money.

Gold has come a long way since the Spanish crossed the ocean to the new world. It will be fascinating to see its future.

The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.

Anne Johnson
Anne Johnson was a commercial property & casualty insurance agent for nine years. She was also licensed in health and life insurance. Anne went on to own an advertising agency where she worked with businesses. She has been writing about personal finance for ten years.
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