From the outside, it looks like your typical 18-carat gold nugget. However, it was produced in a lab and weighs only a fraction of what it should. The gold nanocrystals are held together by protein fibers, and polymer latex gives the gold a lower density.
Nanocrystals and Gold Makes For A Denser Precious Metal
The research team responsible for the nanocrystals believes that weight can be reduced up to 5 to 10 times when compared to the standard mixture used for gold items. What this means is that gold jewelry may soon become lighter in weight. It may be more beneficial to replace the metal allows as it would reduce the density in items used in chemistry, radiation shielding, and electronics.
Scientists mix the nanocrystals, protein fibers, and polymer latex with water and salt to create a gel-like substance. Then, they replace the water with alcohol. After being in a high-pressure CO2 chamber for some time, the alcohol reacts with carbon dioxide, which then creates a gossamer-like aerogel. With heat, the aerogel can be molded into whatever shape. Though the gold may resemble plastic, it’s 18-carat properties remain.
Scientist Use Nanocrystals To Make A More Dense, Lightweight Gold Chunk That May Replace Regular Gold In The Near Future
The many microscopic air pockets help to maintain the lightness of the gold chunk. When it comes to jewelry, many people associate weight with quality. With that in mind, there is a chance that it may not replace necklaces, bracelets, watches, or other items. However, many different options can make use of lightweight, low-density gold. Now, the same researchers were able to make a super-light gold using milk protein some time ago. However, the properties of the gold made it challenging to use. The new version will have a much more extensive range of uses.