The MGS Precious Metals Blog

Manhattan Gold & Silver is an industry leader in precious metal pricing and refining with more than 30 years of experience. During our time in the business, we've found the topic of precious metals to be a vast and interesting one. Here on our precious metals blog, we write in-depth posts about the science of precious metal refining, historical and modern uses for precious metals, market news, and much more. Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay current, and discuss the latest posts on our Facebook and Google+ pages.

Apple’s Recycling Program Strikes Gold

May 22, 2018 07:00
Apple’s Recycling Program Strikes Gold

What do you do with your old Macs and iDevices? If you’re like most people, you probably throw them out. 

In fact, in 2016, the world generated 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste, a term used to describe electronics near the end of their “useful life.” That’s the equivalent of nearly 4,500 Eiffel towers, according to “The Global E-waste Monitor 2017.”

Only 20 percent of that amount was recycled through the appropriate channels.

Apple hopes to increase that percentage through its Recycling Program. The company takes your old Macs and iDevices, dismantles them, and collects recyclable materials, including metal, plastic, and glass. Those materials are then used to manufacture new products.

In 2015, Apple collected 90 million pounds of e-waste. Of that amount, 61 million pounds were made up of reusable materials. At 2,204 pounds, gold was a small portion of the total weight. However, due to gold’s trading value, it was one of the most valuable materials collected from the lot.

Some of the other materials included:

  • 23 million pounds of steel
  • 13 million pounds of plastic
  • 12 million pounds of glass
  • 4.5 million pounds of aluminum
  • 3 million pounds of copper
  • 6,600 pounds of silver

Who sorted through all of these materials? Why “Liam,” of course, a new line of experimental robots. The bots were designed to dissemble 1.2 million phones a year and rarely take a day off.

By recycling these electronics, Apple and its customers are helping to reduce toxic landfill waste, which can cause problems for the environment. The program also helps to mitigate the need to mine the earth for those same materials.

New Material 'Diamene' is Harder than Diamonds

May 16, 2018 07:00
New Material 'Diamene' is Harder than Diamonds

Researchers have created a new material that’s as pliable as tin foil, but hard enough to stop a bullet upon impact. The new material — called “diamene” — has many potential uses, such as waterproof coatings or lightweight bulletproof armor.

The study, led by the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), demonstrated how two, one-atom thick layers of graphene could display diamond-like properties upon impact.

Remarkably, graphite and diamond are both made of carbon, but the atoms are organized differently. This gives them distinct properties in terms of hardness, flexibility and electrical conductivity. 

The ASRC research team’s new technique allowed it manipulate graphite in such a way that it took on the beneficial properties of a diamond, like its hardness.

First, computer simulations were used to test the theory. Then, theory was put into practice using an atomic force microscope to apply pressure to two layers of graphene. 

The graphene to diamond-like hardness transformation only occurred with exactly two layers of graphene. A greater or lesser amount of layers did not achieve the same result.

How Gold is Created in Outer Space

May 9, 2018 07:00

We all know gold is mined from the ground. But, have you ever wondered how it got there? Surprisingly, gold is most likely from outer space – formed in the hearts of dying stars and propelled across the galaxy by supernova explosions before crashing into primordial Earth almost 4 billion years ago.

The idea of “space gold” may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Precious metals have been observed in extraterrestrial objects numerous times. Plus, the idea that gold has always been on earth doesn’t really mesh with the leading theories about the planet’s formation.

Billions of years ago, the earth started as a shifting, molten mass drifting through the cosmos. In this state of fluidity and extreme heat, the process of planetary differentiation would have caused high-density elements (such as gold and other precious metals) to drift into the earth’s core. If gold were native to earth, it all would have drifted closer to the earth’s core and away from its crust – thousands of miles out of reach for even the deepest mines. Following that logic, the only reason gold could be so close to earth’s surface is because it came from outside the planet, rather than from within it.

So, if gold is from outer space, how did it get there? Believe it or not, the particle physics explaining the formation of extraterrestrial gold are pretty straightforward. Below, our infographic explains the process.

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