Indians’ appetite for gold is unparalleled. In the last financial year, gold worth nearly Rs. 2.3 Lakh crore was imported, primarily to satiate the demand from the jewellery industry. Bought as jewellery, people also use gold as an investment asset. Most households consider the shiny metal as their most precious asset, locking it in secure lockers.
However, nearly a third of Indians carry a small amount of the precious metal always in their pocket oblivious of its presence. No, it is not a gold pendant or a ring or a chain, it is the ubiquitous smartphone. Besides being used as jewellery, gold has several other industrial uses. The most sought after quality of gold for industrial uses is its conductance. Here are five surprising uses of gold for industrial purposes.
The general trend in the electronics industry is the shrinking size of the devices. Compact devices need low voltage and less power to function efficiently. Gold is a highly efficient conductor of electricity and does not corrode. Corrosion at the contact points can easily interrupt the seamless flow of current within the device. The non-corrosive nature of gold makes it crucial for usage in connectors, switch and relay contacts, soldered joints, connecting wires and connection strips. Components made with gold are highly reliable. All sophisticated electronic devices like smartphones, calculators and GPS positioning devices use gold in minute quantities. When you buy the next smartphone, you are also investing in precious metals, including gold. But if you want to use gold as an investment in a better way, invest in digital gold, a highly secure and liquid asset.
If you are able to read this article, thank a person with a computer. Even in the age of small devices, it is very difficult to function without a desktop or a laptop. The use of gold in computers is slightly different from a smartphone. Rapid transmission of digital information is crucial for computers and gold being an efficient and reliable conductor is precisely used for that. The connectors used to mount microprocessors and memory chips onto the motherboard use gold. Gold is electroplated on other metals or used as an alloy of nickel or cobalt to improve its durability. The high price of the metal is justified by reliable and better quality performance.
India is a growing space power, with major space missions undertaken every year. It costs billions of rupees to place an object in space or on another celestial object. Even a marginal error can burn billions of rupees in a second, which makes the reliability of materials the most crucial factor in the aerospace industry. Just like electronic devices, gold is used in the circuitry of satellites as it is an efficient and reliable conductor. The precious metal is also used in polyester films that are used to protect the space vehicle from infrared radiation. Space vehicles cannot use organic lubricants in space as the harsh climate will break it down. A thin film of gold is used as a lubricant between crucial moving parts of space vehicles.
The yellow metal is used for a variety of purposes in the glass making industry. A small amount of gold when added to the molten glass gives it a rich ruby colour. Cranberry glasses or ‘Ruby Gold’ glasses are used to produce expensive decorative items. However, the most important use of gold in the glassmaking industry is to produce speciality glasses for climate-controlled buildings. A gold-coated glass reflects solar radiation and helps in keeping the building cool in summers. It also reflects internal heat to keep the building warm in winters.
Gold is a highly malleable metal, which enables it to be beaten into extremely thin sheets. These sheets, also known as ‘gold leaf’, are used to paper over uneven surfaces of frames, furniture and moulds. Gold leaf is also used to cover the external and internal parts of important buildings. The non-corrosive nature of gold makes it a durable coating material. The most visual example of gilding is the golden roofs of religious buildings in India.
Even though gold has several industrial uses, it is primarily used as jewellery. This has locked up substantial amounts of gold in lockers and made it unproductive. The quantity of gold in the Earth’s crust is limited and is expected to decline with the passage of time. The only other way is to free up the unproductive gold. It is also costly to ensure the safety of gold. Digital gold provides the same value as it is backed by physical gold. Digital gold is also time-saving and more liquid than physical gold, which makes it more attractive for people who use gold as an investment. At Finserv MARKETS, you can easily buy or sell authentic 24-carat gold with minimal effort.
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