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The researchers created a very lightweight 18-carat gold using a plastic matrix instead of metal alloy elements.
To create it, scientists first placedtiny precious metal plates, protein fibers and polymer latex in water to form a dispersion. Then they added salt to the mixture and turned the dispersion into a gel, and then replaced the water with alcohol. Next, the resulting alcohol gel was placed in a chamber with high pressure and temperature, filled with carbon dioxide.
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Under such conditions, CO2 is mixed with alcohol and after pressure normalization formshomogeneous airgel. Further, an elevated temperature was used to burn out plastic polymers and form a structure into a piece of metal of the desired density and shape, but with the preservation of an 18-carat composition.
The density of the nugget thus created in5-10 times smaller than a traditional gold alloy with one quarter of copper, and its structure contains many tiny air pockets. The material has a characteristic metallic luster, but when dropped on a hard surface, it sounds like plastic.
According to scientists from the Swiss HigherZurich technical school, this method allows you to get gold of the desired density without melting, because it simulates this process at lower temperatures. In this case, the shape of the metal particles affects the color of the final product: tiny plates give it a typical look, and spherical nanoparticles give the gold a purple hue.
In addition to using lighter material in jewelry, it can also be used to create catalysts and electronics.
Earlier, we also reported on the creation of the thinnest gold sheet in the world, with a thickness of only 2 atoms.