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Industrial Gold: Aerospace

The use of gold in the aerospace industry is fascinating. Although we don’t see a lot of walk-ins wearing space suits carrying shuttle parts, we thought you might enjoy a little information about it.

Because gold is a precious metal, you wouldn’t think mankind would send it into space. But because of some of the unique qualities of gold, it’s extremely valuable in the space program, too.

For instance, it’s used in space suits. A thin layer of gold is applied to the suits astronauts wear in outer space in order to protect them from radiation and reflect and deflect the burning heat of the sun. That’s the glamorous part gold serves in the aerospace industry. 

Gold is also used in the circuitry. If you are in need of parts that will hold up well without lubrication, maintenance or repair, gold will go the distance. Gold is used in aeronautical circuitry because it’s a dependable conductor and connector. And again, because of the reflective qualities, many parts are fitted with gold-coated polyester film. This helps reflect infrared radiation and assists in stabilizing the temperature onboard the aircraft. Without this coating, the dark-colored parts of the aircraft would absorb more heat, leading to a much higher rate of breakdown.

Gold is also used as a lubricant between mechanical parts. In space, organic lubricants become unstable, leading to a breakdown. This is caused, again, by the intense radiation suffered outside the Earth’s protective atmosphere. Gold’s malleability enables it to be processed into a very thin film that coats and protects critical moving parts, serving as a lubricant. This is because the gold molecules slip past each other under forces of friction, providing the lubricant action. It’s a fascinating use of gold and not seen in many other applications.

Gold is too expensive to use by chance. It is only used deliberately and when less expensive substitutes cannot be found. But in consideration of the billions of dollars spent on space travel, it’s a small expense. If you’re going to the moon or beyond, wouldn’t you want the “gold standard” along on the trip?

At Manhattan Gold and Silver, we’re more down to earth. We’re a B2B company that helps others turn around their scrap precious metals for reuse and resale. We don’t work with precious metals from circuitry or other such mechanical components, but we can help with your more terrestrial gold recycling needs. Contact us to learn more.

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