SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sample of elemental gold (Au) in sheet form. Gold has the atomic number 79, and is a soft, unreactive transition metal. It is the most malleable and ductile of all the metal elements, and can be beaten into very thin sheets. This sheet is only 0.3 millimetres thick. In sheet form it is used as gold leaf to gild ornaments and other objects. It is also used as a soldering material, in photography and electronics, and as a precious metal in jewellery. As it is found in its native state, it has been used for millennia.
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