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Chromatographia (2011) 73:1237–1238 DOI 10.1007/s10337-011-1941-6

BOOK REVIEW

Christopher Corti and Richard Holliday (Eds): Gold: Science and Applications Edward R. Adlard

Published online: 8 March 2011 Ó Springer-Verlag 2011

Bibliography Gold: Science and Applications Christopher Corti and Richard Holliday (Eds) CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group with the support of the World Gold Council 2010, pp xii + 416 ISBN 978-1-4200-6523-7 GBP 158.00, USD 239.95

Every chapter in this book is a stand-alone monograph with the common theme of various aspects of chemistry and uses of gold, ranging from its physical and chemical properties, through jewellery, biomedical applications and dentistry to nanotechnology. Most contributions are critical reviews by experts for experts and assume considerable prior knowledge. The book starts with ‘‘Gold Supply and Demand’’ which is concerned with, among other things, the dealing with gold as a commodity in which topics such as the futures market play a prominent part. Gold is unique in that the world’s stock is constantly being recycled and added to, albeit in small amounts. As in many other fields, China has now taken over the lead from South Africa, USA and Australia in annual production. Chapters 2 and 3 are masterly expositions of the chemical and physical properties of gold explained through consideration of the structure of the outer electron shells of the atom. The next two chapters on ‘‘Surface Electrochemistry of Gold’’ and ‘‘Gold Luminescence’’ continue with fundamental aspects of the

E. R. Adlard (&) Burton, South Wirral, UK

element, again at a high academic level, before beginning to move on to a range of application chapters starting with gold as a catalyst. Recent studies have shown that in a finely divided state on a carrier, it can be an extremely active and selective catalyst for a wide range of applications. Chapter 7 on the metallurgy of the element is concerned with such topics as cold working, hardening, and alloying to produce materials with specific properties. Chapter 8 is essentially a continuation of the same topic since it deals with gold as a soldering and brazing material. Vacuum brazing with gold requires no flux, an enormous advantage if mechanically delicate materials are to be joined. A thin layer of pure gold deposited either by vacuum deposition or by electrolysis is often used as a base to which other solders can be applied. The next chapter on ‘‘Jewelry Manufacturing Technology’’ is again a natural progression in topics in that it essentially describes the development of metal working over the last 5,000 years but covers all the modern techniques such as electroforming powder technology and laser welding. Chapter 10 is an account of the use of gold and gold compounds in biomedical applications. It is short, because the main proven use so far is as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. There is very full coverage of the possible modes of action that are still not fully understood and it is clear that a lot more work in this area is needed especially in view of the rather depressing information that the success rate is about 30% and is palliative rather than a cure. There are also one or two recent developments where complexes have been investigated for anti-tumour and anti-viral activities that look promising and one where gold complex ‘‘handles’’ have been tacked on to existing well-established anti-malarial compounds to overcome gradual drug resistance.

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The next chapter on electroplating, by contrast, is 47 pages long, reflecting the great practical importance of the subject. Gold plating has been in commercial existence for 170 years but research and development is still being actively pursued because of the vital role played by electrolysis in the enormous advances in electronics over the last 50 years. All the chapters are well-referenced, but this chapter with 210 is the second largest. It is astonishing how the properties of the plated material can be adjusted to meet the requirements of the intended use and emphasises that electroplating is still almost as much an art as a science. The next chapter describes the use of so-called ‘‘gold pastes’’ to make thick and thin films by sintering nanoparticles onto metal oxides with the aid of organic binders. These films are again used extensively in the electronics industry. Chapter 14 is on gold in dentistry where it has been used from ancient times. Apparently, George Washington possessed a very superior set of gold teeth in addition to his famous wooden ones! From my own casual observation, it would seem that, in the UK at least, cosmetic reasons have resulted in a drastic drop in gold fillings. Chapter 15 deals with decorative uses on china and glass and gives the (to me) staggering statistic that 10 tons of gold are used per annum for this purpose. I suspect that this is one application from which very little material is ever recovered. Considering that the authors of the various contributions come from all over the world, the text is remarkably free from misprints and errors but this chapter contains a classic

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in the statement that the Wedgwood factory produced a set of dishes for Queen Charlotte ‘‘the wife of Louis III’’; it should of course be the wife of George III! However, this gaffe is redeemed by an interesting account of the rather obscure chemistry involved in the production of the ‘‘liquid gold’’ formulations used for decorating glass and ceramics, These often involve natural materials such as Venice turpentine, lavender oil and even asphalt and still belong to the black art era. The chapter ends with a short description of the production and use of gold leaf, another art reaching back into prehistory. Chapter 16 is an account of the production and use of gold nanoparticles, (spheres, rods and shells). It is clear from the text and the large number of references (234), a substantial percentage of which are from the last 5 years, that this is an extremely active field of research with many potential practical applications, although none of them seem to be currently commercially exploited to any significant extent. The book ends with a short chapter on miscellaneous applications such as gold– alloy thermocouples, detection of mercury vapour and needles for acupuncture. This is an outstanding, beautifully presented book with every contribution authoritative and informative. My only cavil is that from a commercial point of view I wonder how much, for example, a dentist will be interested in the electron structure of the atom, a ceramic artist in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis or the designer of IC devices in the manufacture of jewellery.

Book Review: Gold: Science and Applications  

Book Review of Gold: Science and Applications

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