Gold is the most non-reactive of all metals and does not rust. It is virtually indestructible.
Gold is the only metal that is yellow or “golden.”
Nearly all the gold on Earth came from meteorites that bombarded the planet over 200 million years after it formed.
Gold is extremely ductile. A single ounce of gold can be stretched into a gold thread 5 miles long. Gold threads can even be used in embroidery.
Gold is the most malleable element. A single ounce can be beaten into a 300-square-foot sheet. A sheet of gold can be made thin enough to be transparent.
It is a good thermal and electrical conductor.
Uses: Most mined gold is stored as bullion. It is also used extensively in jewelry, either in its pure form or as an alloy. The metal is also used for coinage and has been used as a standard for monetary systems throughout history in some countries. Gold can be beaten into very thin sheets (gold leaf) to be used in art, for decoration and as architectural ornament. Electroplating can be used to cover another metal with a very thin layer of gold. This is used in gears for watches, artificial limb joints, cheap jewelry and electrical connectors. It is ideal for protecting electrical copper components because it conducts electricity well and does not corrode (which would break the contact) Thin gold wires are used inside computer chips to produce circuits. Dentists sometimes use gold alloys in fillings, and a gold compound is used to treat some cases of arthritis. Gold nanoparticles are increasingly being used as industrial catalysts. Vinyl acetate, which is used to make PVA (for glue, paint and resin), is made using a gold catalyst.
Copper was the first metal to be worked by man, along with gold and iron.
Copper is an essential element for human nutrition – it is a component of many enzymes and is needed to produce red and white blood cells.
Copper is a natural antibacterial agent. It is common to use brass door handles in public buildings because they help prevent disease transmission. The metal is also toxic to invertebrates, so it is used on ship hulls to prevent the attachment of mussels and barnacles. It is also used to control algae.
The Statue of Liberty is made from 179,000 pounds of copper.
The average home contains 400 pounds of copper that is used for electrical wiring, pipes and appliances.
Copper is an essential element for human nutrition. The mineral is critical for blood cell formation and is found in many foods and most water supplies.
Foods high in copper include leafy greens, grains, potatoes and beans.
Copper readily forms alloys with other metals. Two of the best-known alloys are brass and bronze, although hundreds of alloys exist.
Copper has many desirable properties, characteristic of transition metals. It is soft, malleable, ductile and an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and it resists corrosion. Copper does eventually oxidize to form copper oxide, or verdigris, which is a green color. This oxidation is the reason the Statue of
Liberty is green rather than reddish-orange. It’s also the reason inexpensive jewelry, which contains copper, frequently discolors the skin.
In terms of industrial use, copper ranks third, behind iron and aluminum. Copper is used in wiring (60% of all copper used), plumbing, electronics, building construction, cookware, coins, and a host of other products. Copper in water, not chlorine, is the cause of hair turning green in swimming pools.
Nearly 805 of the copper that has been mined to date is still in use. Copper is a 100% recyclable metal. It’s an abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, present at concentrations of 50 ppm. The Earth’s copper was formed by exploding white dwarfs and massive stars, before the solar system formed.
Silver is a non-toxic anti-microbial – in other words, silver kills germs!
In ancient Egypt, silver was valued much more highly than gold.
Silver is the world’s most electrically conductive element.
Silver is one of the most reflective metals in the world.
Sterling silverware originated in England during the 13th century.
Silver is rarely used for its electrical conductivity, due to its high cost, although an exception is in radio-frequency engineering.
Other than in currency and as an investment medium (coins and bullion), silver is used in solar panels, water filtration, jewelry, ornaments, high-value tableware and utensils, in electrical contacts and conductors, in specialized mirrors, window coatings, in catalysis of chemical reactions, as a colorant in stained glass, and in specialized confectionery.
Its compounds are used in photographic and x-ray film. Diluted solutions of silver nitrate and other silver compounds are used as disinfectants and micro biocides, added to bandages, wound-dressings, catheters and other medical instruments
Uranium is 500 times more common than gold. Uranium is all around us.
Photographers used uranium salts to turn black and white images reddish-brown. Added to glass, uranium gave it a canary hue and before 1973, uranium was used in Fiestaware’s red-orange glaze – aka “radioactive red” sending Geiger counters into a frenzy.
One uranium fuel pellet (the size of a pencil eraser) creates as much energy as one ton of coal or 120 gallons of crude oil or 17,000 ft3 of natural gas.
Uranium isn’t just better than fossil fuels, it also beats out renewable energy sources in a few other key areas, such as CO2 lifecycle emissions, low land footprint and the best uptime of all energy sources.
10 uranium pellets can power the average household for an entire year.
The US imports roughly 85% of the uranium used to fuel its nuclear power plants.
Other than power and nuclear weapons, uranium is used as a protective shield against radiation in the medical and industrial spaces, and is also used for armor-piercing bullets, protective armor for things like tanks, nuclear submarines, ballast for ship keels and counterweights for aircraft.
Lead is one of the metals known to ancient man. It is sometimes called the first metal.
Lead is easy to extract, easily worked, a superconductor, and is diamagnetic and corrosion resistant. It can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, the soil, the water and even inside our homes.
Over half the lead produced today is used in car batteries.
Wood pencils have never actually contained lead, even though lead is soft enough it could be used for writing.
There are countless uses for lead. Lead solder is common for welding. It is used for car batteries, pigments, ammunition, cable sheathing, weights for lifting, weight belts for diving, stained glass, leaded crystal, fishing sinkers, radiation protection, roofing, ballasts, and statues. It is often used to store corrosive liquids.
On Venus, it snows lead. Venus’s high temperatures vaporize minerals on the plant’s surface, creating a kind of metallic mist that, when it reaches relatively cooler altitudes, condenses into metallic frost that falls on the planet’s tallest peaks.
Children need zinc for growth. Adults need zinc for reproduction and good health.
Zinc has a self-healing mechanism in it. The zinc coating sacrifices itself slowly by galvanic action to protect the base steel. This action continues for as long as any zinc remains in the immediate area.
Zinc is essential for the growth and development of almost all life.
Zinc is found everywhere in daily life: in every cell of the human body, in the earth, in the food we eat and in products we use (sunblock, automobiles, cosmetics, airplanes, appliances, surgical tools, zinc lozenges).
Zinc enhances eyesight, preventing the onset of macular degeneration.
Zinc occurs naturally in the earth, air and foods you eat; it is the second most common trace metal, after iron, naturally found in the body.
Zinc is essential to your health, boosting the immune system, helping cells to grow, regulating appetite and healing wounds; zinc lozenges can even cut short the common cold.
Zinc is a natural insect repellent and sunscreen, protecting lips and skin.
Zinc is the third most used nonferrous metal (after aluminum and copper), of which the US consumes more than one million metric tons annually; the average person will use 730 pounds of zinc in his or her lifetime, according to the US Bureau of Mines.
Zinc is 100% recyclable. Over 80% of the zinc available for recycling is currently recycled.
More than one-third of the zinc consumed in North America is produced from recycled materials.
Zinc is primarily used as a coating on iron and steel to protect against corrosion. Corrosion costs the US 3.2% of the GDP annually, or about $423 billion.
Zinc makes the average automobile last longer – 17 pounds of zinc protect it from rust, 20 pounds are used to make zinc die-cast parts like door handles and locks, and each tire contains about ½ pound of zinc, needed to cure rubber.
Due to the long lifespan of most zinc-coated products like galvanized steel, which in some cases may last maintenance-free over 100 years, much of the zinc produced in the past is still in use, constituting a valuable and sustainable resource of zinc for generations.
Zinc can store six times more energy per pound than other battery systems, increasing the range of electric vehicles; zinc-air batteries have powered cars to speeds of 120 mph.
Zinc combined with copper makes brass.
The US penny is 98% zinc, with a copper coating.
Almost all the world’s mined vanadium ore comes from either China, Russia or South Africa.
Vanadium is a rare-earth metal and is a safer alternative to lithium. A vanadium flow battery is water-based, and thus non-flammable and non-explosive. Indeed, vanadium flow batteries offer the highest level of safety compared to any other battery technology on the market today.
Vanadium redox flow batteries are far greener than other batteries, as they lack potentially toxic metals like lead, cadmium, zinc and nickel – which have been known to contaminate the environment at all phases of the battery life cycle. They help reduce emissions by making green energy and can be recycled.
Vanadium is used to create alloys that are both strong and durable – such as catalysts, jet engines, aircraft carriers and for high-speed aircrafts. It is used to create tools, gears, axles, piston rods, crankshafts, knives and girders in construction.
Vanadium improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. It also lowers total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
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