Gold is the most useful mineral that is mined from the Earth, and it is found in electronics the world over. Its luster, and color make it a prized possession throughout the world.
Previously, we discussed the usage of gold in jewelry and financial transactions. Today we are going to discuss a use for gold that impacts our everyday life, even if we do not realize it. Gold found in electronics is vitally important to the world. It is found in tons of devices that makes the world run. Yet, the vital nature of gold in our everyday life has long lasting impacts.
Gold is found in electronics for multiple reasons. The ability of gold to conduct both electricity, and electronic signals, is unparalleled among precious metals. Solid state electronics operate by using low voltages and currents that depend on a lack of interruption. Gold can transmit at these low voltage points, and do so more reliably than other easily available metals.
One of the reasons that gold is able to transmit signals so reliably is because it is not prone to corrosion or tarnish. This property, previously discussed in this series on why gold is popular in jewellery, makes gold highly valuable in electronics. Not only does it make gold valuable, but it makes the devices it is placed in highly reliable. This in turn makes them as valuable as the gold used to make them. Gold is mainly used in connectors, switch and relay contacts, and anywhere joints, wires, and strips need to be connected.
If a connection needs to be made, gold is the method through which electronics would ideally depend.
This reliability, and value, is found in the devices that power the modern world. Cell phones, computers, PDAs, GPS units, and all the way down to televisions and calculators. If it is electronic, it more than likely includes gold components. Electronics which do not feature gold are generally found to not be as reliable as those that are. The value of gold ensures the value of electronics.
There has arisen a minor problem due to gold’s reliability and value. With so much gold being used in electronics, it is slowly chipping away at the scarce supply of global gold. Nearly a billion phones are produced every year with gold components, each using approximately fifty cents worth of gold. With very few phones being recycled, literal millions of dollars worth of gold is being lost yearly. This translates to the remaining gold on the market slowly being worth more, and devices which depend on gold potentially costing more in the future.
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