An 18-carat gold nugget made of plastic

EurekAlert  January 8, 2020
Researchers in Switzerland have developed a material via a hydrogel precursor dried into an aerogel. Annealing of the polystyrene matrix under vacuum gives rise to a homogeneous template. The final apparent density and porosity of the material depend directly on the volumetric concentration of the starting solution used for hydrogel formation. After annealing, a homogeneous microstructure is obtained in which the shining gold single crystal platelets are evenly embedded in a polystyrene matrix. The material has a glass transition temperature of ≈105 °C, the Young’s modulus of the material with a density of 1.7 g cm−3 is ≈50 MPa. The density and stiffness, as well as the color, of the material can be tuned depending on the final application. It has applications in watches, jewelry, radiation shielding, catalysis, and electronics…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Looks amazingly similar to a real nugget: 18-carat gold with latex as the base material. Credit: ETH Zurich

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