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Researchers Create Incredibly Lightweight 18-Carat Gold Using Plastic Matrix

The researchers can even adjust the hardness of the material by changing the composition of the gold

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Gold
According to the study, gold has the material properties of a plastic. If a piece of it falls onto a hard surface, it sounds like plastic. It, however, glimmers like metallic gold, and can be polished and worked into the desired form. Pixabay

A good news for jewellry lovers. The objects of their desire may someday become much lighter, but without losing any of their glitter – especially with gold watches, as researchers have created an incredibly lightweight 18-carat gold, using a matrix of plastic in place of metallic alloy elements.

According to the study, the research team from the Swiss university ETH Zurich have developed a new form of gold that weighs about five to ten times less than traditional 18-carat gold.

The conventional mixture is usually three-quarters gold and one-quarter copper, with a density of about 15 g/cm3, the study said. Study researchers Leonie van’t Hag, Raffaele Mezzenga and team used protein fibres and a polymer latex to form a matrix in which they embedded thin discs of gold nanocrystals.

In addition, the lightweight gold contains countless tiny air pockets invisible to the eye, said the study, published in the Advanced Functional Material. According to the researchers, gold platelets and plastic melt into a material that can be easily processed mechanically.

For the finding, the research team first added the ingredients to water and created a dispersion. After adding salt to turn the dispersion into a gel, they next replaced the water in it with alcohol.

Thereafter, they placed the alcohol gel into a pressure chamber, where high pressures and a supercritical CO2 atmosphere enables miscibility of the alcohol and the CO2 gas; when the pressure is released, everything turns it into a homogeneous gossamer-like aerogel.

Heat can be further applied afterwards to anneal the plastic polymers, thus transforming the material and compacting into the final desired shape, yet preserving the 18-carat composition, the researchers said.

According to the study, this gold has the material properties of a plastic. If a piece of it falls onto a hard surface, it sounds like plastic. It, however, glimmers like metallic gold, and can be polished and worked into the desired form.

Gold
A good news for jewellery lovers. The objects of their desire may someday become much lighter, but without losing any of their glitter – especially with gold watches, as researchers have created an incredibly lightweight 18-carat gold, using a matrix of plastic in place of metallic alloy elements. Pixabay

The researchers can even adjust the hardness of the material by changing the composition of the gold. They can also replace the latex in the matrix with other plastics, such as polypropylene. Since polypropylene liquifies at some specific temperature, ‘plastic gold’ made with it can mimic the gold melting process, yet at much lower temperatures.

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The researchers noted that, while plastic gold will be in particular demand in the manufacture of watches and jewellery, it is also suitable for chemical catalysis, electronics applications or radiation shielding. (IANS)

Next Story

Bollywood Actress Bhumi Pednekar Urges People To Avoid Single Use Of Plastics

She had shared a few pictures along with the post, which show her cleaning up plastics and garbage at a Mumbai beach

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Bhumi
The actress, who is also a climate change warrior, keeps writing against single use of plastics on social media. Wikimedia Commons

Bollywood actress Bhumi Pednekar wants everyone to avoid single use of plastics. A climate change warrior, Bhumi took to Instagram to spread the word.

She shared a photo that shows her on Monday morning, sipping a shake from a glass bottle with a reusable straw. The actress captioned: “Everyday is a new day And life is all about those baby steps. Am trying to use no #SingleUsePlastic, you should too, Together we can make this world better #HappyMonday #ReusableStraws #goodmorning #hello”.

The actress, who is also a climate change warrior, keeps writing against single use of plastics on social media.

In an Instagram post earlier this month, Bhumi shared shocking figures to reveal the quantity of plastic waste in India, and urged everyone to use recycled plastic.

bhumi
Bollywood actress Bhumi Pednekar wants everyone to avoid single use of plastics. A climate change warrior, Bhumi took to Instagram to spread the word. IANS

“It’s our mess to clean #happynewyear. India generates 25940 tonnes of plastic waste everyday,of 10376 tonnes is uncollected plastic. Start segregating your garbage at home. Make sure you recycle plastic. We have to co exist with nature #circulareconomy #climatechange #plasticpollution #garbagesegregation,” she wrote.

She had shared a few pictures along with the post, which show her cleaning up plastics and garbage at a Mumbai beach.

ALSO READ: “I Want To Explore More Genres As An Actor”, Says Actress Kriti Sanon

Bhumi has also been vocal about the devastating bushfire in South Australia. (IANS)