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ch Science

Scientists Turn Gold Into Foam That's Nearly As Light As Air (www.ethz.ch) 70

Zothecula writes: Along with its use in jewelry, gold also has numerous applications in fields such as electronics and scientific research. It's a handy material, but – of course – it's also expensive. That's why researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new way of making a small amount of gold go a long way. They've created a gold foam that looks much like solid gold, but is actually 98 parts air and two parts solid material (abstract). As an added bonus, the aerogel-type foam can also be made in non-gold colors such as dark red.
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Scientists Turn Gold Into Foam That's Nearly As Light As Air

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  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @01:29PM (#51013941)

    Step 1) Turn gold into foam.
    Step 2) Make gold look red.
    Step 3)....
    Step 4) Loss!

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @01:33PM (#51013957) Homepage

    I think the market is under-served by not having non-gold gold.

    The implications for the hip-hop and gold-tooth industries are staggering, as suddenly bling is no longer confined to being gold, but can be other non-gold colors.

    People have been saying for years that gold should come in other colors, as gold was just too damned boring.

    When asked if creating non-gold gold would create confusion among buyers of gold, as well as creating higher change of fraud due to non-gold-gold gold being produced to be represented as non-gold gold, representatives declined comment citing they were not authorized to speculate on such drivel.

    • There are other colors of gold already, see Colored gold [wikipedia.org]. However, any color of gold has been inevitably goldish.
      • LOL ... you know, the fact that I ended my post with the words "such drivel" was intended to telegraph the whooshiness of what I posted.

        Instead, allow me to present you with your very own: whoosh.

  • He'd weigh it before he put it in water and see how much it displaces. Nice try, Zurich.

    Nonetheless, that's actually pretty neat.

    • Until someone works out that you can balance out your forgery by sticking a lump of iron in the middle, of properly calculated mass.

      • He must have gambled that most con-men trying to curry favor with the king aren't quite so clever.
      • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt AT nerdflat DOT com> on Friday November 27, 2015 @02:07PM (#51014151) Journal
        Nope.... Iron is less dense than gold. It wouldn't weigh enough. In fact, that was how Archimedes detected the forgery.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ClickOnThis ( 137803 )

          Nope.... Iron is less dense than gold. It wouldn't weigh enough. In fact, that was how Archimedes detected the forgery.

          Color mark-t Informative.

          Iron has a density of 7.87 g/cm^3, whereas gold has a density of 19.32 g/cm^2.

          • Iron has a density of 7.87 g/cm^3, whereas gold has a density of 19.32 g/cm^3.

            Typo fix is obvious, but providing it anyway.

          • ... which is why all good gold forgers use uranium, platinum, or osmium to substitute for the gold.

            Oh, hang on. Damn.

          • Nope.... Iron is less dense than gold. It wouldn't weigh enough. In fact, that was how Archimedes detected the forgery.

            Color mark-t Informative.

            Iron has a density of 7.87 g/cm^3, whereas gold has a density of 19.32 g/cm^2.

            Well, duh, you'd just use two and a half times as much iron then.

      • I believe you are thinking of tungsten, which is much closer to the density of gold and has been found more than a few times in the center of "gold" bars.

  • A pound of gold or a pound of feathers?

    • Trick question - in certain parts of rural England feathers are dirt cheap and a pound's worth will yield far more grams than gold which has a relatively constant value regardless of geography.
      • Trick question - in certain parts of rural England feathers are dirt cheap and a pound's worth will yield far more grams than gold which has a relatively constant value regardless of geography.

        I don't think the question allows for arbitrage.

    • A duck! - King Arthur

    • Re:Which is lighter? (Score:4, Informative)

      by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @02:37PM (#51014275)
      A pound of gold. A pound of gold would be 12 troy ounces, which totals to a little bit less than the 16 avoirdupois ounces that would make up a pound of feathers.
    • A pound of gold is higher density than a pound of feathers, so it has smaller volume.
      If we weigh those two in normal environment, then there's smaller buoyancy force affects on a pound of gold than a pound of feathers.
      So, assume that there is no atmosphere, 'a pound' of gold is, now, lighter than 'a pound' of feathers.
  • If the same scientists used bitcoin the final material would have been 100% hot air.

    Stop thinking gold is a suitable alternative!

  • I think somebody was a bit drunk when reading the basics of Alchemy...
  • Pah. Doctor Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker were decades ahead of them - gold into foam? Useless! Try gold into cottage cheese [youtu.be] - low in cholesterol, high in vitamins...
  • Nice feat, but does this also have a practical usage, or is this a purely academic exercise? From the article: 'But in contrast to its conventional form, it is soft and malleable by hand' - so not quite usable for jewelry. Where gold is used for its conductivity, it is mostly used as plating, not as solid or foamy object. So ... what am I missing?
    • From the article: 'But in contrast to its conventional form, it is soft and malleable by hand' - so not quite usable for jewelry

      That depends on what sort of jewellery you're using it for.

      While I wouldn't claim to be a jeweller, I have probably made more items of jewellery then the other hundred people on this boat, and repaired a number more. I could certainly envisage using, for example, the red form as the centre piece for a pendant, with (say) alternating "rays" of gold and silver sheet (or gold rays la

  • "Sarge, we couldn't find any contraband on the smugglers. They are only exporting pillows this time."

  • I wonder if they will accept it for purchases at Dairy Queen.

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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