Throughout its long history, mankind has become accustomed to dealing with gold in the form of sand, nuggets, ingots, coins, jewelry and other products. Professor Rafaele Mezzenga and his colleagues from Zurich have developed gold foam, which is 98% air.
Its basis is protein milk fibers. In appearance, this nano-cocktail looks like a cappuccino, only golden in color. According to the professor, the airgel he developed is tens of times lighter than gold and even water. Its specific gravity is comparable to that of air.
Airgel has a full-fledged golden shine, while products made from it are very soft and easy to machine. It is 4/5 gold, and the rest is protein fibers, which roughly corresponds to 20 carat gold.
To create unusual gold, scientists developed a material that was obtained by heating milk proteins until a protein fiber was formed - amyloid fibriols of nanometer thickness, after which they were placed in a solution of gold salts.
Rafaele Mezzenga and his team
According to Professor Mezzeng, the unique material can be used in the creation of new models of watches, jewelry, in chemical reactions involving gold, where light is absorbed or reflected, as well as in some pressure sensors.